Aleix Espargaro was bursting with pride after the Forward Yamaha rider put an Open class MotoGP machine on the podium for the first time with an excellent runner-up finish at Motorland Aragon.

In a dramatic race, Espargaro made a crucial decision to pit to change to his wet set-up machine a lap before most of his key rivals as the rain began to increase during the final laps of the race.

The Spanish rider was unable to do anything about Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in front of him, but he managed to repel a final corner charge by Ducati's Cal Crutchlow to seal second position.

"I'm really happy and really proud of this race because we completely changed the set-up of the bike from yesterday to today," Espargaro said.

"It was a little bit surprising in the race because I felt really good. In corner three Bradley [Smith] passed me and I was wide and on the first lap I crossed the line as the last one.

"I tried to overtake everyone as fast as I could and in 10 or 12 laps I was in sixth place, which is fantastic. Lap by lap the rain was getting heavier and in the back straight it was even stronger," he added.

"All the race the rain was really constant and never stopped; I thought it was the best moment to go in and I changed the bike one lap before everybody. It was the key to finishing on the podium and I am really proud.

"My feeling is that it was impossible to finish on the slick tyres. The traction control was not working and if you lean a bit you could fall. Even with the rain tyres it was really slippery so with slicks impossible.

"We were a little bit more clever than the rest and I am really happy."

Espargaro and Crutchlow touched as they powered towards the line with the Forward Yamaha rider somehow managing to pass the flag first despite going up against the Ducati in a drag race to the finish.

"It was strange because I had problems with my visor and couldn't see nothing and I was really focused on the straight to see how many lap [were left]," he said.

"In the last corner I heard an engine and I saw it was a Ducati, so I said 'he will kill me on the straight now' [with speed advantage] and I opened my arms a little bit! I'm really happy to finish second."

Espargaro, who also took a first pole earlier this year at Assen, is expected to be officially announced as a 2015 Suzuki MotoGP rider within the next few weeks.



Loading Comments...