Aleix Espargaro set to become Honda MotoGP test rider

Espargaro announced ahead of last week’s Catalan Grand Prix that he will retire at the end of the 2024 season, bringing to an end a 20-year career in the MotoGP paddock that has so far yielded three premier class victories with Aprilia.

The Catalan already said at the time that he was seriously contemplating the possibility of becoming a test rider, given the experience he possesses.

Despite the success he has enjoyed with Aprilia, the brand with which he has raced for the last eight years and to which he brought their respective first victories in MotoGP, Espargaro has already made it clear that he will not continue with the Italian brand.

Autosport understands Honda is close to securing Espargaro’s services as a test rider for 2025, marking a major challenge for the Spaniard given HRC’s struggles in recent years. It is unclear what this would mean for current Honda tester Stefan Bradl.

Espargaro arrived at Aprilia in 2017 after two years at Suzuki, two years into the Noale brand’s return to MotoGP.

During these eight years, he took on the role of developing the RS-GP, which went from being the worst bike on the grid to become, right now, a motorcycle capable of winning races and standing up to the powerful Ducati — a job he now hopes to repeat at Honda.

Espargaro was also instrumental in developing Suzuki’s GSX-RR into a race-winning package.

HRC is experiencing drought that does not seem to be close ending.

Apart from Alex Rins’ solitary victory last year in Austin, the Japanese giant is going through the worst moment in its history.

In the last two years, Honda has finished last in the manufacturers’ standings and lost Marc Marquez to the Gresini Ducati squad owing to its lack of performance.

Ahead of this Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Joan Mir is the leading Honda in the standings on 13 points, while factory team-mate Luca Marini has yet to score.

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