MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro Announces Retirement

MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro Announces Retirement

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

#GrazieCapitano: Aleix Espargaro announces retirement from MotoGP™ in Barcelona

The Aprilia Racing rider will bow out at the end of 2024 – so here are a few career highlights, quotes and more after the announcement

Thursday, 23 May 2024

In a special Press Conference at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) has announced that he will retire from Grand Prix racing at the end of 2024. The #41 has competed in more than 300 Grands Prix over a career spanning nearly two decades, building a lasting legacy that includes taking Aprilia’s first ever premier class win.

Espargaro’s first key success was winning the FIM CEV in 2004, and the same year he made his Grand Prix debut with an appearance in the 125cc World Championship. In 2005 he competed in his first full GP season, in the 125cc class, before appearances in the 125cc and 250cc classes in 2006. For 2007 and 2008 he remained in the intermediate class, becoming a consistent top ten finisher as well as linking up with Aprilia machinery for the first time.

2009 saw Espargaro get his first taste of the MotoGP™ class as he raced as a replacement rider for Pramac at Indianapolis, Misano, Sepang and Valencia, before a full time move to the premier class for 2010 in the same team. Two P8s were his best finishes, but 2011 would see Espargaro move back to Moto2™. The season saw him take his first GP podium, on home turf at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and from there the opportunity to move back to MotoGP™ beckoned for 2012. He joined the Aspar team and stayed there in 2013, too, making a name for himself as the frontrunner in the CRT class.

The same was true in 2014 as he moved to Forward Yamaha and the #41 took his maiden premier class podium that season – a stunning second place at a wet MotorLand Aragon. He also took his first pole position at Assen. From there, Espargaro would become a factory rider after impressing over a number of seasons in the CRT.

First, he joined Team Suzuki Ecstar for 2015 and 2016. He took the factory’s first pole since 2007 at the 2015 Catalan GP, and took consistent top ten and top five results. After two seasons in blue, his next stop was Aprilia Racing in a move that would go on to make some history for both.

Proving a key part of the project from 2017, Espargaro and Aprilia steadily moved forward season by season. By 2021 the duo celebrated their first podium together, at the British Grand Prix, and in 2022 history was made. The Argentinean Grand Prix saw Espargaro come out swinging from the off, and on race day he kept it calm and collected to take a stunning first premier class win for him – and for Aprilia. It was no flash in the pan either, with four podiums in a row from Portugal to Mugello and another at Aragon seeing them stake a claim on the upper echelons of the Championship.

2023 continued the success. A podium at Assen preceded a stunning victory at Silverstone, and there was more to come as the #41 stood on the top step in Barcelona after an awesome showdown against teammate Maverick Viñales. It was a historic 1-2 for the Noale factory, and after Espargaro had also won the Tissot Sprint in a near-perfect weekend.

By the time 2024 concludes, Espargaro can expect to have the third most starts of any rider in history. He’s two behind MotoGP™ Legend Loris Capirossi, who is third on the all-time list, as it stands. He will have taken at least three MotoGP™ wins and podiums in both Moto2™ and MotoGP™, and he will forever have been a vital part of the project that saw Aprilia take their first premier class glory.

Check out some quotes from an emotional Aleix below, watch the full press conference, and join us in saying… #GrazieCapitano!

 
ALEIX ESPARGARO: “First thing, thank you everyone for coming, it’s amazing to see all of you here. As you can imagine, at the end of this season I will retire from being a full-time MotoGP rider. It’s been a nice journey, I’ve enjoyed it a lot, so thank you everybody.

“This is a special place, where I began riding, and where last year was a dream come true to me, so it’s the perfect place to announce that I will retire from being a full-time rider. My trajectory has been quite different, like for all riders, it’s not easy and nobody gives you anything for free, but mine has been really very strange. No one, not even a Hollywood movie, could have thought that at 30 years old, I could win races and take podiums with a brand that hadn’t done it before. So I’m very happy and proud, it’s never enough but I’m very proud of how far I’ve come. The kid who made his debut here many years ago would be very happy.

“I’ve always made a lot of mistakes in life because I do everything from the heart and not from the head, but that’s how I am. My head says I can continue racing, and be fast on a grid of riders who are the best in history, and I feel competitive, and physically good, but my heart is asking me to stop. To spend more time at home, be with my wife and kids, so that’s why I’ve decided to step aside and enjoy life in a more relaxed way.

“More than anything, I want to thank Aprilia. These last two or three years have been a dream with everything we’ve achieved since I arrived with Romano, Massimo and Paolo. We made history and I’ll be eternally grateful for everything they’ve given me, and everything I’ve been able to give to them. I want to thank Carmelo and Carlos because I’ve grown up here, this has been my life, my school, everything. For my kids too.

“I want to thank my family, my brother, who has always been my point of reference. And to all my personal team: Albert Valera, without whom my sporting life would never have been like this and who is now such a part of my life, and to my wife Laura. And thanks to all the riders in the paddock. I’ve tried to do everything as well as I know how, and I’m very happy. Thank you all.

“There are many riders in the world, and in this space today, who won more than me, but I gave everything I had and worked very, very hard. Many times I felt maybe I didn’t have the talent of others riders but by working hard I reached quite a high level. And once again with Aprilia seeing all these memories of the last two or three seasons, it’s amazing. I was dreaming, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to stop. It’s enough, I already had so much fun and I want to retire from being a full-time rider with a good feeling. It’s not been an easy week, I felt sometimes I was jumping into a strange space, but I’m really happy.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Racing:

Grazie Capitano

Aleix Espargaró will retire at the end of the season after a long career in
MotoGP and eight years spent with Aprilia Racing

Espargaró chose his home race, in Barcelona, to announce his retirement from
MotoGP at the end of the season. He chose this track because he grew up in
Granollers, just a few kilometers away from the paddock, and because a year ago he
wrote one of the most memorable pages of Aprilia Racing history with a one-two
finish with Maverick.

Aleix’s career is closely linked to Aprilia Racing, for eight seasons he has raced with
the Italian team, marking the most beautiful moments in its recent history. He has
won three Grand Prix races (Argentina 2022, Silverstone and Barcelona 2023), a
sprint race (Barcelona 2023) and clinched 3 pole positions and 10 podiums.
However, the story doesn’t end here. There is still a long season ahead of us,
starting from Barcelona where Aleix and Aprilia Racing have always delivered
outstanding performances.

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ

“I am happy to announce my retirement as a full-time rider. It has been a wonderful
20 years in this paddock and I am very happy and proud of what we have achieved
together with Aprilia. We made history and that will never be forgotten. I have had so
much fun and we have created an incredible human group. We have a very nice
weekend ahead of us, at a track I like and where I am fast, and there are still plenty
of races left until Valencia to be competitive.”

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“Aleix is a great teammate. We have spent four years together and lived
unforgettable moments. Together, we take Aprilia to the top, I have great memories
with Aleix. We still have a year ahead of us to take Aprilia even higher together.”

MASSIMO RIVOLA

CEO APRILIA RACING

“Thank you Aleix, because with you we have built an incredible story. Thank you for
not giving up in difficult moments and for being a great example for all of us. You won
the captain’s armband on the field by merit. You gave us the first podium, the first
pole position, the first victory here in Barcelona and the first one-two with Maverick.
Your spirit, with your ups and downs, with your character, reflect the energy of this
team and of the whole Noale factory. I don’t know what you will do in the future, but
you will always remain an Aprilia rider. From today a new page opens for the rider
market and Aprilia Racing will certainly not stand idly by. With our style, we will
ensure a great future for this team, which you have helped to make a true top team.”

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