Aleix Espargaro: ‘Job is done’ at Aprilia, Honda ‘missing everything’

"My job is done in Aprilia, I did everything I could." Honda? "They are missing everything. If I can help them get back on top it will be fantastic"

Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Aleix Espargaro has opened up on his decision to join Honda for the next chapter in his MotoGP career as a factory test rider in 2025.

By the time he rides his final RS-GP lap at Valencia, Espargaro will have spent eight seasons at Aprilia, helping them progress from the back to the front of the grid.

That includes Aprilia’s first three MotoGP wins and two further Sprint victories, alongside eleven GP podiums to date and leading the 2022 world championship.

Having proudly carried the Captain moniker - recently tattooed on his arm - it was a surprise that Espargaro didn’t want to slot into the role of test rider for the Noale factory.

Instead, he’s starting a new challenge at HRC.

It is a really good opportunity and I’m really honoured to join HRC,” Espargaro said. “I talked with the top Japanese management and they really believe and trust in me and this is what made me decide to go.

“I will try to raise the level of the bike technically, which is what I did with Aprilia, but I will also be a team player, trying to work with the riders, be in the garage, to bring the mood that I helped create in these eight seasons with Aprilia.

“They really need this also. It is not just technical but on this side also. I will try.”

Last in the constructors’ standings for the past two seasons, Honda hasn’t won a MotoGP race Alex Rins' victory at COTA 2023.

Victory looks further away than ever at the moment with the top RC213V rider, 2020 (Suzuki) world champion Joan Mir, just 18th in the standings with a best Sunday finish of 12th.

“They are missing everything,” Espargaro said with his characteristic directness.

“Imagine how difficult it is for a team like HRC, who were winning everything and now they are finishing outside the points. This is a shock, emotionally.

"For example, Joan Mir is a world champion and now he is not able to finish races. 

“My job is done in Aprilia… I did everything I could. I worked very, very hard for eight seasons to help put them on top and I think my job is done,” Espargaro added. “They have a good test rider with Savadori, who is doing a great job.

“It is good motivation and a good opportunity for me to join HRC. They are not in the best moment, that’s for sure, so if I can help them get back on top it will be fantastic.

I think they really understand that they have to change,” he added. “They trust me and the opportunity they’ve given me is fantastic. I don’t have to say, but [Honda] is the biggest brand in this paddock, so they have to be on top fighting for victories.”

Espargaro confirmed that he has signed to test the RC213V, alongside Stefan Bradl, and race as a wild-card.

“Yes, there is planning to do wild-cards in the contract but I don’t think this is the most important thing right now,” Espargaro said. “I will race no problem, I think I have proved I am still fast, even if I am 34.

“I still have 4-5 years where I will be very fast in terms of speed, but the most important thing is Joan and Luca, so I will try to help them.”

Marini took his first world championship point as a Honda rider, after being promoted to 15th by tyre pressure penalties on Sunday in Germany.

Espargaro missed the German Grand Prix due to hand injuries sustained a week earlier at Assen but now has the summer break to recover before Silverstone.

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