Espargaro was one of the standout riders from the 2022 MotoGP season, as he claimed his and Aprilia’s maiden MotoGP victories. 

Prior to the Argentine Grand Prix getting underway, Espargaro also secured the Noale-based Manufacturer’s first-ever premier class pole position, before going on to get the better of Jorge Martin during the race. 

Espargaro followed that up with sensational performances such as pole at his home race in Barcelona, before completing one of the best in-race comebacks of the season at Assen as he regrouped following a mistake from Fabio Quartararo which saw the Yamaha rider crash into him.

Espargaro, who luckily managed to remain aboard his RS-GP22, then came back from 15th to fourth, which included a mesmerising double-overtake on Brad Binder and Jack Miller at the final chicane.

Yet, Espargaro believes no one is giving him a chance heading into next season. Speaking to Motorsport-magazin, Espargaro said: "Now no one believes that we can do it again in 2023, but I believe. I understand that I have to keep proving myself after not fighting for a title for 15 years. 

"Nobody here doubts Fabio, for example, because he has the always been in a World Championship fight for the last three seasons. Will I be able to do it again next year?"

Espargaro was also quick to point out team-mate Maverick Vinales as someone who could become a consistent challenger.

"Maverick will certainly put in strong performances in his second full Aprilia year because he's just a very talented rider," added Espargaro. "That will drive me. 

"That we will also have a customer team is important for our engineers in particular. Ducati has had a big advantage in this regard lately. 

"They were able to test five different things in one session due to the fact that they have so many riders in the field. That was impossible for us. If we use the satellite team well now, it will be very valuable for us."

Espargaro is the most experienced rider on the current MotoGP grid as he will embark on his 13th full season in 2023.

And while it remains his ‘job’, enjoying these moments is something he believes will only help bring out more performance. 

Espargaro added: "MotoGP is my job and you have to be professional there. It's not just about having fun. But everyone also knows that the more fun you have, the faster you ride. 

"I lost this joy of riding in the second half of the season. I wasn't having fun and couldn't do the things I was able to do in the first half of the season."