Aleix Espargaro praised the Aprilia’s flawless performance. Could he be the frontrunner for Sunday?

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Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia made a decisive move, overtaking both Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia, as he narrowed the gap to just 0.729 seconds from claiming victory in the Qatar MotoGP Sprint.

Aleix Espargaro achieved his best-ever start to a MotoGP season with a podium finish in Saturday’s Qatar Sprint.

Despite a less than stellar start off the line, where he briefly dropped to fifth position on lap 7 of 11, the 34-year-old Spaniard showcased the strength of his Aprilia as the race unfolded.

Espargaro’s impressive performance saw him overtaking world champions Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia to secure third place on the penultimate lap, finishing just 0.2 seconds behind Brad Binder’s KTM. Race winner Jorge Martin was only 0.729 seconds ahead.

Although Espargaro set the fourth-fastest lap of the race with a time of 1m 52.255s on lap 2 of 11, it was his final lap time of 1m 52.762s that caught the attention of his rivals ahead of Sunday’s full-length grand prix.

While all other riders, including Martin, dropped into the 1m 53s range on the last lap, Espargaro’s strong finish prompted Marc Marquez to suggest that the #41 rider could be the favorite for the grand prix if he can replicate this form tomorrow.


“I’m genuinely pleased, especially because I had a lot of fun,” Espargaro shared with “The bike performed exceptionally well. I had some uncertainties due to the conditions since we hadn’t ridden [in the dry] this weekend under the lights.

“So, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the bike was flawless. I was particularly strong in the latter part of the race. I just needed a few more laps to close in on the two riders ahead, but I’m satisfied with the outcome.”

While the Ducati GP24s encountered some chatter issues, and Binder’s KTM lacked a bit of traction, Espargaro’s main weakness appeared to be a lack of engine performance, leaving him somewhat vulnerable on the straights.

“It became evident during today’s race that we need more power, especially for the starts and the lengthy straights, to prevent others from overtaking us,” Espargaro affirmed. “However, for tomorrow’s longer race, I believe we cannot ride as aggressively as today, and it seemed like the pace we had was strong…”

Expressing confidence for Sunday, Espargaro added, “I feel confident. I really enjoyed today. It’s crucial to have fun with your bike and not fight against it. So starting like this is a positive sign.”

Despite Espargaro’s swift adaptation to the new aerodynamically advanced 2024 machine, the other Aprilia riders have experienced less comfort.

In the Sprint, the next best RS-GP was Maverick Vinales, finishing ninth.

Stay tuned with We4GP for more news.

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