The only rider on the grid without a grand prix win in any class, Espargaro banished that statistic in style on his 200th premier-class appearance - claiming pole position, fastest lap and Aprilia's first ever MotoGP victory.

"We know the Aprilia bike's been good this year, but I think it was just an outstanding performance from the start of the weekend," said former grand prix rider and British champion Huewen.

"Having said that, did you get the feeling that he was going to throw it away on the last couple of laps? Because he looked the most nervous, the most tight, I've ever seen!

"It was the 284th grand prix that Aleix Espargaro has ridden and… riding tight? I think he must have had damn near solid muscles going through those last couple of laps.

"My nails were bent backwards watching those final laps because you know the man behind him, Jorge Martin, he's tough and was putting him under pressure all the way. Incredible event, incredible achievement and fair do's to all concerned we ended up with a fantastic grand prix.

"In terms of what this win means to the Aprilia team and riders, it obviously lifts everyone mentally but also it frees some budget usually. Suddenly budget starts to move around for that extra bit of development or to hire more personnel."

 

'Aprilia right now are in the driving seat'

Espargaro's long awaited victory means Aprilia now joins the other five MotoGP manufacturers in having won a race with its present machine.

But unlike the others, Aprilia - which now leads the world championship with Espargaro - still has access to concessions. Could a proven winning package plus technical perks help them pull off a title upset?

"For the concessions, they've got three points for this win [plus one from Silverstone 2021]. Once they get to six points they'll lose concessions for the next year. Testing, seven instead of nine engines, no changes to the engine during the season," Huewen said.

"Aprilia right now are in the driving seat. They lead the world championship with Aleix Espargaro and they've also got concessions so they can make changes that the others can't.

"They've got the chance to bring new bits and change stuff around for the better. So they're in the hot seat at the moment.

"Aleix Espargaro has got huge experience. The only thing he never had was a chequered flag in any class. He's got that now. That is going to be a monkey off his back like you cannot believe. This is going to make a major difference.

"And all of this is also playing into the hands of compatriot Marc Marquez, who might or might not make COTA. Every weekend we've had a different winner, meaning the points are being spread out in the thinnest way.

"The championship is still there to be won for Marquez over this longest ever season…"

Huewen, Crash.net MotoGP editor Peter McLaren and podcast host Harry Benjamin also discuss the infamous freight delay, Fabio Quartararo's race struggles, Ducati's mixed form, Marco Bezzecchi's top rookie ride, plus Suzuki's best result of the season.

Attention then turns to the action-packed Moto2 and Moto3 classes, before a preview of this weekend's COTA round and predictions for who will stand on Sunday's premier-class podium.

Download Episode 40 at the following links...

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