Aleix Espargaro names his “one rider to watch” for 2024 MotoGP season

"He has done extraordinary things," Aleix Espargaro insisted

Aleix Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February
Aleix Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February

Pedro Acosta has received a glowing reference after Aleix Espargaro got a close-up view of his talent.

Rookie Acosta shone at the preseason MotoGP test in Sepang by going second-fastest on the opening day.

His emergence resulted in Pol Espargaro being demoted from Tech3 GASGAS full-time rider to a KTM test spot.

“Pedro’s talent is amazing,” Aleix said.

“Since arriving in the championship he has done extraordinary things.

“It’s just his third time in Sepang, his second time in MotoGP.

“Obviously he has been riding for a lot of [time].

“When you see him on track, I was riding with him for a couple of laps, you see the lines that he’s taking. They are not rookie lines.

“It’s unbelievable how fast he learns.

“He is one to watch during the season.”

Aleix said about Aprilia’s showing at the Sepang test: “Very happy overall. I enjoyed this first test of the season.

“We did a really good job. We’ve completed our best test programme since I’ve been at Aprilia. I am proud.

“The ‘24 spec bike is promising, it’s looking good. I can’t wait to go to Qatar.”

Aleix’s sprint simulation was seven seconds faster than it was a year ago.

“We did a solid job. Michelin told me that we simulated the sprint with used tyres,” he said.

“It was almost our qualifying lap time of last year so I’m happy with these improvements.”

But Aprilia boss Massimo Rivola claims they cannot fight for the championship.

“He’s right,” Aleix said. “Once again, all the Ducatis were on top.

“I was the only bike in the mix with them.

“We improved a lot. The bike is definitely better than last season’s.

“I’m not sure if we’re able to fight for the title yet. We still have time.

“Massimo is right. [Ducati] are still the bike to beat.”

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