Espargaro made history by winning Aprilia’s first-ever premier class race of the MotoGP era, but despite being the heavy favourite going in, the Spaniard was made to work harder than expected.

A good launch wasn’t enough to keep hold of the lead as Martin rocketed to the front by turn one, but after studying where the Pramac rider was quick, the second part of the race felt more like a scene from Jaws. 

With the music cued, Espargaro began to close in towards Martin and therefore the race lead. A first overtake came with eight laps to go, but Espargaro ran wide which gave Martin the lead back. 

Two laps later and he tried the same move at turn five, again running wide. 

But with his third attempt being the most decisive of them all, Espargaro finally took the lead as a first MotoGP win beckoned. Espargaro made a few mistakes whilst leading, but none were enough to cost him top spot. 

On a day where pressure to win was incredibly high, Espargaro managed the expectations perfectly with a bike he’s now claimed to be the ‘best of my career’.

Speaking after the win, Espargaro added: "I’m extremely happy because since Qatar I felt, even in the pre-season, I felt like I had the best bike I’ve ever had in my career. 

"Obviously, in the pre-season it’s very difficult to judge whether this bike would allow me to fight for a top ten, top five, or to win, but I’ve been very close to the fastest guys in pre-season testing. 

"Also, in Qatar I felt strong and we have step-by-step shown a lot of potential. Yesterday we proved we were the fastest, and also today in the race it was not lucky or a wet race and now we are leading. 

"I’m extremely happy because I feel like this championship is one of the most difficult ever because of the level. For me, I’m obviously extremely happy to win the race, but for me personally nothing really changed. 

"I’m a very lucky person and my job is my passion, I have a dream family, and I have everything a man can dream of. 

"Sincerely, a victory doesn’t change so much in my life. But for everybody in Aprilia it is a huge step."

While Espargaro eventually got the better of Martin, his good friend looked poised to fightback during the final few laps, something Espargaro remained weary of due to the former Moto3 world champion being a ‘killer when the lights go out’. 

Espargaro said: "I know that Jorge is a killer. I know that on Sunday he doesn’t need to have the pace all the weekend to be fast. When the lights go out he is a killer, and it was not easy for me to follow him. 

"I made a couple of mistakes; I played a lot with the electronics, engine brake and TC (traction control) to save the tyre, but sincerely he was brave because he had the most difficult part which was leading almost all the race and showing to everybody the pace. 

"During my career I always try to respect my opponents, trying to overtake clean and we showed today that you can pass without needing to touch each other. 

"But even if you do touch like we did in the last race it’s nice and this is racing."

On Martin’s side of things, the Pramac rider secured a much needed podium, and one that has finally launched his 2022 season following two DNF’s.  

"I’m super happy to finally finish a race because this year has so far been really difficult for me," said Martin. "I’ve been super fast, super consistent and finally we closed the weekend in a really good position. 

"I think it was one of the best weekends so far in my MotoGP career. I have been working a lot. In the race I put everything I had into the track. The conditions were really hot and I knew Aleix was a bit faster but I tried to keep him behind. 

"I was a bit better on braking, but he was unbelievable on other parts of the track like T1, T2. Super happy for him because he’s a really good friend of mine."