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**Aleix Espargaro’s Next Chapter: From Aprilia’s Captain to Honda’s Hope**

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Aleix Espargaro: ‘Mission accomplished’ with Aprilia, Honda ‘lacking in every area’

"I have completed my mission with Aprilia and given my all." Honda? "They're falling short in every aspect. It would be amazing if I could assist them in becoming leaders again."

Aleix Espargaro has shared his thoughts on his choice to become a factory test rider for Honda in 2025, marking the next phase of his MotoGP career.

When Espargaro completes his last lap on the RS-GP at Valencia, he will have dedicated eight seasons to Aprilia, during which he played a key role in advancing the team from the rear to the forefront of the grid.

This encompasses Aprilia's initial trio of MotoGP triumphs, an additional pair of Sprint race victories, eleven GP podium finishes so far, and their leadership in the 2022 world championship.

Boasting the title of Captain, which he recently had inked on his arm, it was unexpected that Espargaro declined the position of test rider for the Noale factory.

Rather, he is embarking on a new venture at HRC.

Espargaro expressed his gratitude and excitement about joining HRC, stating, "This is a fantastic opportunity and a great honor for me." He mentioned that discussions with senior management in Japan, who showed significant belief and trust in his abilities, played a crucial role in his decision to join.

"My goal is to enhance the technical aspects of the bike, similar to what I achieved with Aprilia. Additionally, I plan to collaborate closely with the riders and be present in the garage, fostering the positive atmosphere I've helped build over the past eight seasons with Aprilia."

"They are in need of this as well. It’s not only about the technical aspects but also this part. I will make an effort."

Honda has been at the bottom of the constructors' rankings for the last two seasons and hadn't secured a MotoGP win until Alex Rins' triumph at COTA in 2023.

At this time, a win appears more elusive than ever, as the leading RC213V racer, Joan Mir, the 2020 world champion with Suzuki, is positioned 18th in the rankings, with his highest finish on a Sunday being 12th place.

"They lack absolutely everything," Espargaro stated bluntly.

"Picture the challenge faced by a team such as HRC, who used to dominate and win consistently, but are now ending races without earning any points. It's an emotional blow."

As an illustration, Joan Mir, who has previously secured a world championship title, is currently struggling to complete races.

Espargaro stated, "I've completed my duties with Aprilia. Over eight seasons, I gave my all to help them reach the top, and I believe my work is finished. Savadori, their test rider, is excellent and is doing an outstanding job."

"Joining HRC is a great source of motivation and a valuable opportunity for me. Clearly, they are not at their peak right now, but if I can assist them in regaining their top position, it would be wonderful."

“They truly grasp the necessity for change,” he commented. “Their confidence in me and the incredible opportunity they’ve provided is remarkable. It goes without saying that [Honda] is the premier brand in this paddock, and they must be competing at the highest level for wins.”

Espargaro announced that he has agreed to test the RC213V with Stefan Bradl and compete as a wild-card entrant.

Espargaro mentioned that while they are considering including wild-cards in the contract, it isn't the top priority at the moment. He confidently added that he can still compete effectively, emphasizing that he has demonstrated his speed despite being 34 years old.

"I expect to maintain my high speed for another 4-5 years, but my main focus will be on supporting Joan and Luca."

Marini earned his first point in the world championship as a Honda rider, after climbing to 15th place due to tire pressure penalties imposed on other competitors on Sunday in Germany.

Espargaro was unable to participate in the German Grand Prix because he injured his hand the previous week at Assen. He now has the summer break to heal before the upcoming race at Silverstone.

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