Espargaro to stick with 2015 Suzuki after "worst moment" of his career

Aleix Espargaro will continue using the 2015 bike this season after struggling for pace with the new-spec Suzuki during the MotoGP opener in Qatar.

The Spaniard was unable to match the pace of teammate Maverick Vinales during the winter, and the same happened at Losail, where the latter qualified third and finished sixth while Espargaro was 15th on the grid and 11th in the race.

Espargaro admitted he was "completely desperate" during the weekend, and he decided to switch to the 2015 frame for the race, having used the new bike up until the warm-up.

"Unfortunately a very bad feeling all weekend," said Espargaro. "In the warm-up was one of the worst moments in my career in MotoGP.

"I was completely desperate, the feeling was a disaster. I asked my crew chief to completely change the bike, then went back to the 2015 bike for the race and in the race I felt a little bit better.

"Especially at the beginning I was able to fight with Scott [Redding] and Pol [Espargaro] for a couple of laps but when the tyres dropped it was difficult.

"We will keep working on the 2015 bike because we were really competitive with it with a slower engine and I think, the same thing with a faster engine, it's better to keep working with that frame.

"I hope in Argentina we will be more competitive. I'm sorry for the team because I was very slow this weekend and I will work hard. I will not give up."

Tyre woes for Suzuki

While Espargaro says the feeling with the old chassis was better, he conceded managing the tyres was a problem, him having not tried the 2015 bike in months.

"I haven't ridden it for the last two months so when the tyres dropped it was very difficult to manage," he said.

"I played a little bit with the balance of the bike and with the electronics but after 10 laps it was very difficult to follow Scott. We have a lot of information now and we keep going."

Teammate Vinales said he had also struggled for grip after being unable to keep up with the frontrunners.

"The grip is so important. Now in the race was zero grip on the rear tyre," he said.

"The grip was really low, I did not like the bike in the race.

"But anyway in the warm-up I was feeling really great. So I will work really hard for Argentina because I think it's possible. It's 14 seconds [behind the race winner] and I was feeling so bad on the bike, so I think it's possible to be there [out front]."

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein and Oriol Puigdemont

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Aleix Espargaro
Teams Team Suzuki MotoGP
Article type Breaking news