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Aleix Espargaro Signs With HRC as MotoGP Test Rider

Gold and Goose

Aleix Espargaro will become an HRC test rider at the conclusion of 2024, when he will retire from full-time racing.

Espargaro announced his plans to retire from racing at the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix earlier this year. The Catalan rider went on to win the Sprint that weekend, and was initially anticipated to continue in a testing role with the Aprilia team he has been with since 2017.

However, it became clear on the same weekend as Espargaro's announcement that he would be looking elsewhere to continue his riding career, with Espargaro himself telling Spanish broadcaster DAZN during the Catalan GP weekend that the brand he will become test rider for "will probably not be Aprilia."


With Aprilia off the table, the logical choice for Espargaro became Honda, as it is the brand which is currently struggling the most and therefore the one at which Espargaro could have the greatest impact. Now confirmed by the Japanese manufacturer, Honda has also announced that it will retain Stefan Bradl as test rider, meaning it will join KTM in having a multi-rider test team.

Aleix Espargaro, 2017 MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas. Credit: Gold and Goose.

Espargaro is not a stranger to manufacturers in need of improvement, though. His first factory ride came in 2015 with Suzuki, when the Japanese manufacturer first re-entered MotoGP with its GSX-RR project after leaving at the end of 2011.

The GSX-RR won its first race, with Maverick Vinales, at the 2016 British Grand Prix, but both Espargaro and Vinales were out at the end of the year. While Vinales went to Yamaha, Espargaro went to Aprilia.

Like Suzuki, Aprilia was very much in its building stage in 2017, having entered as a factory effort in the same year as Suzuki: 2015. It took longer for Aprilia to reach the top step than Suzuki, the Noale brand achieving its first win in 2022 with Espargaro in Argentina, but like with the GSX-RR Espargaro played a central role in the development of Aprilia's RS-GP, now seen as one of the best three bikes on the grid.

When Aprilia entered MotoGP in 2015, Honda was one of the benchmark manufacturers (as it almost always has been in its racing history) having won two of the three titles since the 1,000cc era of Grand Prix racing began in 2012. By now, though, it has fallen to the bottom of the order, and it is now calling on Espargaro to play the role he has played twice already in helping HRC develop its RC213V back into a victory-contending motorcycle.

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