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Aleix Espargaro on Departing Aprilia for Honda: A New Chapter in MotoGP Career to Revive HRC’s Fortunes

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Aleix Espargaro: ‘Mission Accomplished’ at Aprilia, Honda ‘Lacking in All Areas’

“I’ve completed my mission at Aprilia, I’ve given it my all." Honda? "They’re lacking in all areas. Helping them reach the top again would be incredible."

Aleix Espargaro has shared insights into his choice to move to Honda for the upcoming phase of his MotoGP journey, taking on the role of a factory test rider starting in 2025.

When Espargaro completes his last lap on the RS-GP at Valencia, he will have dedicated eight years to Aprilia, contributing to their journey from the rear to the leading positions on the grid.

This encompasses Aprilia securing its initial trio of MotoGP triumphs and an additional two Sprint wins, coupled with eleven GP podium finishes so far, and being at the forefront of the 2022 world championship standings.

Sporting a new tattoo that read "Captain" on his arm, it came as a shock when Espargaro declined the opportunity to become a test rider for the Noale-based team.

Rather, he's embarking on a fresh endeavor with HRC.

"Joining HRC is truly an exceptional opportunity and I'm deeply honored," expressed Espargaro. "After discussions with the senior management from Japan, their genuine belief and confidence in me were the decisive factors in my choice to move forward."

"I aim to elevate the technical standards of the motorcycle, similar to my contributions at Aprilia, while also being a collaborative member of the team. I plan to engage closely with the riders, be present in the garage, and foster the positive atmosphere that I've been part of developing over the last eight years with Aprilia.

"They truly require this as well. It's not solely technical, but from this perspective too. I'll make an effort."

Sitting at the bottom of the team rankings for the previous two years, Honda secured its first MotoGP win since Alex Rins' triumph at COTA in 2023.

Currently, triumph seems more elusive than before, as the leading rider of the RC213V, Joan Mir, who clinched the world championship with Suzuki in 2020, is languishing in 18th place in the rankings, having only managed a highest finish of 12th on any race day.

"Everything is absent," Espargaro stated bluntly.

"Consider the challenge faced by a team such as HRC, previously dominant in their field, now ending up beyond the scoring positions. This situation is undoubtedly a jolt to their emotions."

For instance, Joan Mir, who has secured a world champion title, currently finds himself unable to complete races.

"Espargaro stated, 'I've completed my mission at Aprilia… I've given it my all. For eight long seasons, I've dedicated myself tirelessly to elevate them to a leading position, and I believe I've accomplished what I set out to do,' he added. 'With Savadori as their skilled test rider, who's performing excellently, they're in good hands."

Joining HRC presents a great chance for me to be motivated and offer my assistance. Clearly, they're facing tough times, and if I can contribute to their resurgence to the forefront, it would be absolutely wonderful.

"He believes that they recognize the need for transformation," he continued. "Their confidence in me and the amazing chance they've offered is incredible. It goes without saying, but [Honda] being the leading name in this arena, must aim to be at the forefront, competing for wins."

Espargaro has officially announced his signing to conduct tests on the RC213V, in partnership with Stefan Bradl, and to participate as a wild-card entry.

"Indeed, there are plans to include wild-cards in the agreement, yet I don't believe that's the top priority at the moment," Espargaro remarked. "Competing isn't an issue for me; I believe I've demonstrated that I still possess speed, despite being 34."

"I believe I have around four to five more years where my speed will remain at its peak, but the priority for me is Joan and Luca, so I'll focus on supporting them."

Marini earned his inaugural point in the world championship as a rider for Honda, following an elevation to 15th place due to tyre pressure penalties on other competitors during the Sunday event in Germany.

Espargaro was unable to compete in the German Grand Prix because of injuries to his hand that occurred the previous week at Assen. However, he now has the summer break to heal before the race at Silverstone.

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