Official: Aleix Espargaro announces MotoGP retirement at end of 2024

Aleix Espargaro will bring an end to his MotoGP career at the end of the season

Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Aleix Espargaro has announced his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the year.

Espargaro confirmed ahead of this weekend’s Catalunya MotoGP that he will bring an end to his career in a special press conference, surrounded by Aprilia, former colleagues, fellow riders and his brother Pol.

Now aged 34, the Aprilia rider is the oldest on the current grid and has chosen to walk away, after publicly flirting with the idea of retirement for weeks.

Espargaro made his first MotoGP race appearance in 2009 and has been a full-time rider for 13 seasons.

He won three grands prix - Argentina in 2022, and Silverstone and Barcelona in 2023 - and represented ART (Aprilia), Suzuki, Forward Yamaha and Aprilia since 2017.

"There are many riders in the world, here today, who won more than me," he said.

"But I gave everything that I had. I worked very hard.

"Many times, I felt that I didn't have the talent of other riders. But by working hard I reached a high level.

"The past two or three seasons were amazing. I was dreaming.

"I would like to retire as a full-time rider with a good feeling.

"It was not an easy week. I felt like I was jumping into a really strange space. But I am happy.

"Hopefully the other riders, as a present, can let me win this weekend!"

Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Espargaro expanded on his big decision: "The riders here today, they wait on a Wednesday to fly to races. It is the most important thing in their lives.

"I also felt like this in the past. Now I feel like maybe I would like to stay longer at home. I love to stay with my kids.

"I am fair with myself. If you are not focused on being a MotoGP rider, it is difficult."

Espargaro revealed that his brother Pol's removal from full-time racing - and his awful crash on the first day of the 2023 season - was a reason for him to retire.

"After the crash of Pol, it was not easy. He had a big one. He changed a lot.

"I saw him more happy. I didn't expect that.

"When you are not racing you don't have fun at home. But he was super happy with his family.

"He pushed me to this decision."

Maverick Vinales, whom Espargaro helped convince to join Aprilia after leaving Yamaha and has celebrated a grand prix win and two Sprint victories this season, said:

“Aleix is a great team-mate. We have spent four years together and lived unforgettable moments.

"Together, we take Aprilia to the top, I have great memories with Aleix. We still have a year ahead of us to take Aprilia even higher together.”

Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola said: "Thank you Aleix, because with you we have built an incredible story. Thank you for not giving up in difficult moments and for being a great example for all of us.

"You won the captain's armband on the field by merit. You gave us the first podium, the first pole position, the first victory here in Barcelona and the first one-two with Maverick.

"Your spirit, with your ups and downs, with your character, reflect the energy of this team and of the whole Noale factory. I don't know what you will do in the future, but you will always remain an Aprilia rider.

"From today a new page opens for the rider market and Aprilia Racing will certainly not stand idly by. With our style, we will ensure a great future for this team, which you have helped to make a true top team.”

Espargaro is expected to take on a test and wild-card role for Aprilia but said he is currently focused on the current season.

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