Welcome to the beta version of the new Women & Golf website. Our web monkeys are still hard at work and welcome your feedback.  


MotoGP Austin: ‘I love the challenge, the title dream is there’ - Espargaro

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro arrived in Austin a MotoGP winner and leading the 2022 championship standings.

Both are dreams Espargaro has held onto for a long time, 20 years in fact. But while the celebrations were definitely in full flow on Sunday night, a week is long time in world championship racing and the focus has already switched to a new venue and the next race.

“Sounds good. Sounds good. Still strange for me to hear that but I'm very, very happy,” Espargaro said of his recent success. “Have to say that these last days has been fantastic. I feel happy but at the same time relaxed, you know, because I have the confidence that I didn't have in the past. So in the past I dreamed that I could win, now I know that I can.


"It's not going to be an easy weekend for me because last year we suffered a lot in this track, was one of the most difficult of the championship but this year is different because we have new asphalt, the bumps will be a lot better,” he continued from the Circuit of the Americas. “The '22 machine is a lot better than last year and we arrive in a completely different position. So I can't wait to go out on track and see how fast I can go.”

Aprilia’s 2022 rise has been coming since the beginning of preseason.

“I have no doubt that it's going to be completely different. I mean, I was very happy to win in Argentina but the thing that makes me more happy is that we show in the three first rounds that we are very competitive, that I feel good with the new bike, that the new bike is a lot better. The proof was that I was also able to overtake Jorge [Martin] with the Ducati in the straight so it means that overall the Aprilia grows up a lot and this gives me a lot of positive energy for this America round.

“I know it's not going to be an easy one. I'm sure that in Portimao and Jerez is going to be a little bit easier for me and for my bike but this is a challenge. This weekend is a big challenge for me and I love the challenge so I can’t wait.”

While MotoGP’s last visit to Texas came just six months ago, as the 2021 season counted down it was a completely different story for Espargaro. The Spaniard struggled across the weekend and was one of the most vocal on conditions of the COTA track. Since then, a majority of the layout has been ground out and resurfaced in an effort to combat the bumps.

“I try yesterday already with the bicycle and looks like they did a good job,” Espargaro confirmed. “Sincerely last year was very, very tricky. Looks like the new asphalt is quite good, for sure a lot better than in the past. So let's see how is also the grip because when you put new asphalt for sure you improve the bumps but you have to see also how is the grip of the new tarmac. I can't wait. It looks like it's gonna be a very, very windy weekend so we have to deal also with this. Let's see how it works tomorrow.

“It's always great to improve a track,” he continued. "I think last year was very bumpy and I suffer more than the rest but also in terms of safety was in the limit. So I think that this year's bikes change quite a lot, the chassis is a lot better in the bumps because also Argentina was quite bumpy in some places and the bike was reacting good. So even if they didn't resurface America I have the feeling that it will be a much better weekend than last year. But for sure with the new surface it has to be better for everybody, more safety. Last year was very difficult for the riders to handle the situation. Normally when they resurface, if the grip is good, is always an advantage for everybody.”

With the first ever win of his Grand Prix career now secure, the paddock has high expectations for the 32-year-old. Espargaro, however, seems more relaxed than ever.

“I have no more pressure than before,” he explained. "The first one is the most difficult one so now, sincerely, I feel more relaxed than ever in my career. I dream with the first victory, now I achieve it so I know that I can win and for sure I will try to win again. I will try to score maximum points possible for the rest of the season because it's a very, very long season but no, I'm relaxed, I have for sure no more pressure than before.”

While the Argentina victory was emphatic, some have questioned if the absence of Marc Marquez denied some of its magic.


“To win is special,” he confirmed. “I don't really like this question because I know Marc is one of the best of the history and especially here in America, but also the rest of the field is very, very strong this year. So to win is very, very difficult, especially this year it's even more because the contenders are a lot, a lot.

“I'm happy for him that he's back, not for the championship but for him personally. I think what is happening to him this last year is extremely difficult to handle. You have to be very brave and to have a very strong mentality. So happy that he's here obviously.

“Now, to win it was super difficult before, now it's even a little bit more but this is MotoGP and the best riders of the world have to be here.”

With the first race win in the bag, attention turns to title aspirations. While Espargaro is currently in control of the standings, nine riders on the last three podiums means it’s close race so far in 2022 and the return of Marquez means the battle will quickly intensify.

“A lot of options to win the title, for sure,” the Aprilia rider admitted. “He wins many, many championships. I'm leading the championship now but everybody has very similar points. You can have in race three, 75 is the maximum and I just have 45. So he's not far, he's very strong. The championship this year is very, very long. The longest one ever. So everybody is capable to win yet and Marc even more because he's one of the strongest riders.

“I'm very proud of what we achieved with Aprilia, how far we came from and the situation we have right now. Yes, for sure we can dream with the championship. The guys at my side have less points than me and they are for sure 100 per cent thinking that they can win the title so why I don't have to think like them. It's gonna be very difficult, very, very difficult but this dream is there and it's nice to dream in life.”

Articles you may like


More MotoGP

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram