Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia twitchy amid rider market as retire question looms

"They can't wait until October because it's an official bike, one of the best."

Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April
Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April

Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro have a deadline in mind to decide whether he will ride for another year or not.

Mugello, the seventh round of the MotoGP season on May 31, is when the Italian manufacturer wants a firm answer about whether their captain will extend his career.

Espargaro, 34, is the oldest rider on the grid and is flirting with calling it quits.

“I have great affection for Espargaro for everything he brought to the team,” Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola told Sky.

“At Mugello we will make a decision.

“He is super fit and age is only experience, but if Aleix decides to stop we will go on the market and evaluate the alternatives.

“An Italian name can be interesting, there is no profile but he will have to be devoted to the cause."

Espargaro told Marca about his deadline to decide: "In these four races, which are super mythical, very important circuits, in Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello and Barcelona.

“​​I am in no hurry and Aprilia, I think Massimo said, that they would be the last to decide.

“So calm down, enjoy these races. They are some of the most beautiful on the calendar.

“The results, in the end, are what give you the strength to decide.”

Aprilia were linked with a move for Fabio Quartararo which did not succeed because he renewed his contract with Yamaha.

Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini - and even Marc Marquez - have been linked with joining Aprilia, who are currently Ducati’s closest challengers.

Espargaro’s bike is coveted more so than it has ever been at Aprilia.

"It's normal, that's good,” he reacted. “We've done a good job at Aprilia.

“Four years ago, no one wanted my bike, eh?

“I've also hinted that maybe it's my last year, but I'm calm.

"If I want to continue at Aprilia, I will continue."

Espargaro admits that, while he weighs up whether to retire or not, his employers must look at alternative riders.

"I have made it clear because the feeling I have is that I am not convinced,” he said.

“I am a person without filters, I could have been silent, but I have said what I think: I don't know if I am going to continue.

“It is normal that other riders and Aprilia move.

"They can't wait until October because it's an official bike, one of the best.

“And if I'm not there, a top rider has to go there."

Espargaro explained the reason that he is considering stepping away.

"I have the feeling that what I have done is good,” he said.

“And I have other concerns, the calendar is increasingly complicated, the weekends are increasingly stressful. I am not very clear."

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