It’s fair to say, Aleix Espargaro’s third place in today’s MotoGP qualifying session at Sachsenring was a case of when not if. 

Espargaro has been on the verge of securing Aprilia’s first front row start since returning to MotoGP for much of the 2021 season, while their first podium finish could also be on the cards during Sunday’s race. 

Following Q2, Espargaro said: "I’m very happy! It’s just Saturday but everyone in the Aprilia team is working very, very hard in the last years. 

"It’s very hard to compete against the best bikes of the world with no experience in the top class. 

"Today’s result is just a small trophy for the job we are doing in the last few months. I’m very proud of what we are achieving, and believe me it’s just the beginning."

The result is even less of a surprise given Espargaro’s form so far this weekend in Germany, as he’s consistently been around the top five in both one lap and race pace.   

Espargaro believes his front row start and conserving grip in the tyres will be crucial to staying in the ‘podium group’, come the end of Sunday’s 30 lap race. 

"I say from yesterday that I felt good here. Normally it’s a circuit where the Aprilia is quite competitive - it’s not a very demanding circuit for the engine, and the stability of the RS-GP21 is the highest," said Espargaro.  

"Especially in the second part of the track I feel that I’m very competitive. You never know what can happen because in MotoGP with the equality there is now, everything can happen on Sunday. 

"We saw for example in Barcelona that Fabio [Quartararo] has a super pace. I thought he would win with ten seconds, and then it’s not easy to put everything together in the race. 

"Also the temperatures are really high, so the tyres will suffer tomorrow. For sure it will be much better starting from the third place on the grid and then try to follow the podium group until the end, and then let’s see if I have enough to fight for it."