Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
MotoGP Catalan GP

Espargaro ‘felt like I lost’ after qualifying before Barcelona MotoGP sprint win

MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix sprint race winner Aleix Espargaro admits he came into the contest having “felt a little bit like I lost” after being beaten to pole.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Espargaro topped both of Friday’s sessions at the Barcelona track on his Aprilia, while the Italian marque was also fastest in third practice and Q1 courtesy of RNF’s Miguel Oliveira.

Having set a new lap record on Friday, Espargaro couldn’t carry this through into Q2 and was beaten to pole by Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia.

He would go on to beat the world champion in the 12-lap sprint by 1.9s, but admits the day started “bitter” for him, which made him “a bit angry” coming into the race.

“It has been a very special feeling when I crossed the chequered flag, even if it’s just a sprint,” Espargaro began.

“But this morning was a bit bitter because I finished second, which is great for the two races. But I felt a little bit like I lost.

“I gave everything, but Pecco was better. He was amazing, lap record. I was a bit angry, so I started with a big commitment in the sprint race.

“I was a bit shocked at the beginning on the first two laps, because the level that Pecco proposed was very high.

“The 1m39s-low was a very high pace, it was not my plan to go at this pace. When he started to do this I said ‘Ok, let’s play, let’s see who can go faster, who destroys the rear tyre first’.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team,

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team,

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Espargaro made his decisive move on Bagnaia into Turn 1 on lap seven before darting away, but says going up against MotoGP’s braking “king” meant he nearly didn’t make the corner.

“I felt like I was better in the mid-corner, I was able to rush a little bit more than him and also in the traction,” he added.

“But to stop the bike, he’s the king. We saw it in Austria he’s very difficult to overtake.

“But today I had the feeling I was strong and I never in my career won with an advantage, both times I won I overtook on the last part of the race.

“So, today I said to myself to try, there are not many occasions like this. I tried to pass him, it was difficult.

“I started to brake super late in the first corner and I was having front locked and I was not able to turn because he pushed me to brake really late.”

Espargaro’s riding style was later praised for his performance in the sprint, particularly in the low-grip conditions.

But he explained that he is only doing what the Aprilia needs, and it’s a riding style he ‘doesn’t like’.

“I made this bike for this type of riding style,” he said when asked about his smooth, more upright riding technique.

“I don’t really like my riding style, I would like to put my lean angle more on the floor. I try in sometimes in a test but there is no benefit.

“It’s very beautiful to see what Jorge Martin is doing [getting so low in corners], but I don’t see a benefit.

“The Aprilia needs to turn by itself. You can help the bike for sure, but you don’t need to force it like hell because it means the bike is not working in the right way.

“This for me was clear from the beginning. And we made it. The Aprilia is the best turning bike on the grid. It’s not beautiful, but on this type of track with no grip it helps.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article MotoGP Catalan GP: Espargaro defeats Bagnaia in sprint, Quartararo 18th
Next article Bagnaia “scared” of 2009 Rossi/Lorenzo repeat with Vinales in Barcelona sprint

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global