I fought like a lion, but Marc is Marc! – Aleix Espargaro

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“Marc protected the inside, and at the last moment, I decided not to go for it. I could have caused a big mess! On such a special weekend for me, I didn’t want that.”

Aleix Espargaro came within 0.052 seconds of achieving a dream home MotoGP farewell in Catalunya with a podium finish on Sunday.

Following his announcement to retire at the end of this season, the Aprilia star topped practice, secured pole position, and won the Saturday Sprint.

However, Sunday’s full-length grand prix, run on medium rather than soft rear tires, proved to be a much tougher challenge.

Dropping from pole to sixth in the early stages, Espargaro regained ground and moved into third when Pedro Acosta crashed out on lap 11 of 24.

A pass by Marc Marquez then took the podium spot from Espargaro with four laps remaining, but the #41 rider dug deep and was close enough to consider an all-or-nothing lunge in the final corners.

“With the soft tire, I was much stronger. But today with the medium, I never felt good,” Espargaro said. “At the end, I tried my best to stay close to Marc, but I was just sliding, sliding, sliding.


“I tried everything because Marc had no grip in the right corners. So I told myself, ‘OK, if you’re closer in 13 or 14, maybe you can go for the inside.’

“But he protected the inside, and at the very last moment, I decided not to do it.”

“I could have caused a big mess! And with Marc, in Catalunya, on such a special weekend for me, I didn’t want that. Fourth place is good enough.

But Espargaro insisted he had no regrets: “I fought like a lion all race.

“It was for a podium in my last race at home, so it was the moment to take risks. I tried everything, but Marc is Marc—no mistakes. He secured his podium.

“You saw the first three bikes on the podium were Ducatis, and the Aprilia was fourth. I tried everything, but it wasn’t enough.”

Espargaro finished 5.4 seconds ahead of the next-best Aprilia, ridden by Raul Fernandez on the 2023-spec bike, who took fifth place.

Factory teammate Maverick Vinales was a distant 12 seconds behind Espargaro in 12th.


However, Espargaro admitted he couldn’t match the pace of Ducati duo Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin, who finished ten seconds ahead.

“They beat my race time from last year by 20 seconds, which is crazy,” Espargaro said. “[Ducati] chose this track for testing and improved a lot.

“They discovered something in tire saving. They definitely found something with the medium tire. This is why testing is extremely important.

“Last year, the result here was a 1-2 for Aprilia. This year, Ducati chose Barcelona as a test track, and we didn’t… resulting in a 1-2 for Ducati.”

Although Espargaro plans to switch to test and wildcard duties for 2025, he surprised many by revealing it probably won’t be for Aprilia.

Stay tuned with We4GP for more news.

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