Espargaro: “I know that I have a better bike than Pecco, I was very angry…”

Aleix Espargaro says missing out on pole position left him ‘very angry’ before going on to win the Catalan MotoGP sprint.
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023

The Aprilia Racing rider was the pre-race favourite despite being beaten to pole position by the reigning MotoGP champion.

And after losing two places off the start, Espargaro made sure to not disappoint his home crowd as he overtook Francesco Bagnaia midway through the sprint.

A stunning low 1m 39s lap time on the same lap as his race-winning move then saw him open a five tenths advantage before going on to win in dominant fashion. 

But that didn’t stop Espargaro from being frustrated about qualifying. After Friday practice Bagnaia said Espargaro and Aprilia should win as the Catalan circuit suits their bike just like the Red Bull Ring does the Ducati, and that’s exactly what the Spaniard believed.

Espargaro said: "Yeah I agree. Pecco is right but Pecco, at the moment, is riding at a really high level. 

"Today, the pole position of Pecco proved that - we always say that the tendency not to credit the hard work of the riders - if he’s not doing good results the bike is shit but if he’s doing good results he has the best bike, but it’s not always true. 

"There are many Ducatis but Pecco proved this weekend that he’s very fast. I was very angry about the pole position actually because I know that I have a better bike than Pecco here and he broke the lap record. 

"I was a little bit angry with myself. It’s clear in a track like Barcelona that we have better traction and the speed we can carry on the fast corners is higher than the Ducati. 

"We need to work on the other tracks because they improved a lot on the brakes. But on these sorts of tracks we are the reference."

Espargaro, who has also held the upper hand over teammate Maverick Vinales this weekend, used his different riding style to his advantage.

A rider who likes to lean on the side of the tyre, Espargaro is not the biggest fan of his riding style although it pays off on circuits such as Catalunya where traction makes a huge difference. 

"I made this bike," began Espargaro. "I built this bike for this type of riding style. I don’t really like my riding style and I would like to put my lean angle more on the floor and sometimes I try in the tests but I don’t see any benefit. 

"It’s very nice to see what Jorge Martin is doing but I don’t see a benefit. The Aprilia needs to turn by itself. 

"You can help it to turn for sure, but you don’t need to force it like hell because it means the bike is not working. 

"The bike needs to turn by itself. I think the Aprilia is the bike that turns the most on the grid."

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