Three-time MotoGP winner Aleix Espargaro announces retirement

The 34-year-old Spaniard made the announcement on Thursday afternoon ahead of his home Catalan Grand Prix at Barcelona, where he won both the Saturday and Sunday races last year.

Espargaro’s current Aprilia contract expires at the end of this year and he had already admitted at the signing of this deal two years ago that he expected it to be his last.

Watch: The place where icons fight | When in… Barcelona

Despite telling media at the Americas GP that he was still to decide on what he wanted to do for 2025, he has elected to call time on his racing career.

«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,» said Espargaro.

«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.»

Espargaro made his MotoGP debut in 2009 as a replacement rider at Pramac Ducati at the Indianapolis GP, scoring points in his maiden race in 13th.

He would make four appearances in total that year, all of them yielding points, before signing full-time with Pramac for 2010.

Achieving a best of eighth in an injury-hit season, Espargaro returned to the intermediate class in 2011 where he finished 12th in the Moto2 standings having scored a first grand prix podium at Barcelona.

Aleix Espargaro, Aspar Team ART

Aleix Espargaro, Aspar Team ART

Photo by: Aspar Team

He returned to MotoGP in 2012 with the Aspar squad aboard an Aprilia-powered CRT machine, scoring in all but two rounds to end the campaign as top CRT rider.

He did the same in 2013 before moving to the Forward Racing squad on an Open class Yamaha machine – on which he scored a fortunate first pole at Assen and then beat Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow in a race to the line at Aragon to finish second.

Espargaro signed a factory deal for 2015 to join the fledgling Suzuki project alongside his current Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales.

Instrumental in the development of the GSX-RR that would eventually win the championship with Joan Mir in 2020, Espargaro was a consistent top eight challenger on the bike but never scaled the same race-winning heights as Vinales.

A move to Aprilia’s factory project in 2017 followed, with Espargaro extracting the most out of a bike few ever regarded as being MotoGP-worthy across his first three seasons.

After a particularly difficult 2019, Espargaro considered retirement, but elected to continue with Aprilia into 2020.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Photo by: Dorna

In 2021 he made history at the British GP when he scored Aprilia’s first MotoGP podium with a third at Silverstone, following that up in 2022 with his and the team’s first win in Argentina.

Espargaro fought for the championship in 2022 until the latter stages, and though a title challenge didn’t materialise in an inconsistent season for Aprilia in 2023 he still won two grands prix.

During his time in grand prix racing, Espargaro has also often been an outspoken voice on safety in the championship and pushing for necessary changes.

Read Also:

Source link