Espargaro on Vinales: “Not easy to have a good relationship with your teammate”

Aleix Espargaro has called the Catalan MotoGP ‘a very historical moment’ for Aprilia after completing his first double win.
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia MotoGP Catalunya 2023

Espargaro won Saturday’s MotoGP sprint after overcoming world champion Francesco Bagnaia, before going on to do the same against teammate Maverick Vinales.

The Grand Prix was a much tougher race for Espargaro, who admitted he didn’t have the same feeling as the sprint and that he would have settled for second had it not been his home race. 

But after managing to beat Vinales to victory thanks to an overtake at turn one (four laps from the end), Espargaro looked back on what the achievement meant.

"I think that today is a very historical moment," began the Spaniard. "I’m very proud of Aprilia. Very, very proud because we came from very far away. 

"Aprilia has to be very proud of Maverick and me because we together did an amazing and historical job. 

"It’s not easy to have a good relationship with your teammate when you are fighting for top positions and to develop the bike to fight against your rivals. So, I’m very happy. Congratulations to Aprilia."

Following his battle with Vinales, Espargaro asked the former Yamaha rider to change bikes with him after securing Aprilia’s first-ever 1-2 in MotoGP.

A situation we very rarely see, Espargaro added: "When I saw Maverick, I said, “Let’s change the bikes,” he looked at me like, you’re crazy. 

"I said to myself, I remember at that moment Maverick struggling three years ago, and he was super down. I was talking to him. “You will come to Aprilia.” But obviously, he was not sure, because Aprilia was finishing at one minute. 

"But I said to him, “You are very strong. We’re going to put this bike on top." 

"This is like a present to Aprilia, to ourselves, to belief, to hard work. Teamwork in the end pays off because two strong riders working together, it’s much better than one. 

"Today we proved. This is a present for Romano, Massimo, and everybody back in Noale."

Sunday’s 1-2 finish was also made possible when both factory Aprilia rider avoided the turn one carnage, something Jorge Martin managed to do as well before claiming third.

After seeing Francesco Bagnaia lose the lead following a brutal highside, Martin did his best to avoid the Italian which Brad Binder was unable to do as he ran over Bagnaia’s legs.

"I saw him highside," stated Martin. "It’s really unusual nowadays in MotoGP. It was really strange. Then I braked so, so hard trying to avoid touching him. 

"Then as soon as I braked, I felt a big hit from the back from Brad, I guess. 

"Then I saw that he went through Pecco’s leg. So at that point, I was a bit scared. Then all the oil was coming onto my visor and on my bike. 

"I thought the best thing was to go in. I tried to make the movement of the flag. After that, my swing arm was broken, my exhaust pipe also. 

"So I had to go to my second bike that I didn’t really like during the weekend."

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