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MotoGP Misano II: Espargaro ‘didn't enjoy riding the bike’

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro bided his time at Misano before storming to third in Friday’s combined times just as FP2 concluded.

The Catalan rider had struggled for the majority of the opening day’s two practice sessions, admitting he ‘didn't enjoy the bike’ in the wet and mixed conditions. Keeping his cool, he waited in the pits as the drying track improved, pitching his time to perfection before striking on fresh Michelin rubber in the closing minutes with a 1’42.291 final lap.

“Today, sincerely speaking, I didn't enjoyed the bike, riding on the wet,” Espargaro confessed. "I didn't feel fast enough, I didn't have grip on the rear. I felt very good on the brakes but not on the acceleration. I modify a little bit the geometry of the bike for the afternoon, trying to gain grip. We improve a little bit but not enough.


“So, in the last part of the session I saw the dry line coming, so I said to my crew chief, we need to change the tyre and I need to put all the effort in one or maximum two laps - because then the pressure and the temperature of the tyre, increase so much and the bike is unridable.

“I have the experience, I know perfectly how these Michelin work in these conditions, so this is what I did. I change the tyre and I wait till the end, when I saw the perfect moment in the last part of the session, I push, and I did the lap, so hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”

Friday also saw the FIM, in partnership with Dorna, release new regulations regarding the safety of competition in the future. Espargaro remains vocal in his desire for better safety and admits he has been hit hard by the distressing events of this year, even to the point of considering his own future in the sport.

“For me, it's very, very important as a MotoGP rider and one of the most experienced riders of the paddock, I think I can give my point of view when it's important. I've been very, very sad with the loss, and the passes away, we had this year. Was very difficult for me to manage.

“I think really twice to continue or not racing, where every time a thing like this happens, so if I can help even maybe 0.1% them to improve something, I'll be there. I know also, there are many ideas to try something on the bikes, to stop the bikes, for the crashes whatever so I say to Carlos, I'm here, I can help you, I can try whenever you want. I think that they are clever enough and they have a lot of people around them to improve the rules, but they are not MotoGP riders. So it's always good to mix both the worlds, both ideas, to see if it works.

“I think they've been smart, they change quite a lot also on the safety side of the leather suits, of the helmet, so yeah I'm very happy and I think the MotoGP have to be the mirror of the small classes.

“For example, this year we improve a lot the safety in terms of the yellow flags, because we have the screens that for the riders are much easier to spot where the crash is. They are working on new things, with new technology to help us to see that an accident is in front of us, but it's still far, we're still working on it, so, let’s wait a little bit.”

Reflecting on his future career - Espargaro is currently half way through a two year contract with Aprilia - the 32-year-old is confident of his place in his current team but aware that things could quickly change in this world.

“I still didn't decide yet, because when the things are not good in your job, as last year or two years ago, you have many time to think, many things come to your brain but right now I'm enjoying riding the bike. I'm in a very good moment of my career. I think I'm riding better than ever. So I'm not really thinking, I'm not worried about my future. I want to see how the things goes, but yes, next year is my last year of contract and can be my last year.


“I will be 33 years old so I'm proud of what I achieved. For me, it can be more than enough and for sure, what I want to do when I retire, I love Moto GP, I'm very grateful of what it gives to me, but I don't want to stay more in the races at least every single race. I need to disconnect a little bit, to stay at home with my family. I think I'm young enough still maybe to be a test rider, to do some races but if I decide to retire, for sure I will not do anything as a team manager or something like this. I don't want to stay 200 days apart from my home, that's for sure.

“Maybe I can be involved in some safety role with Dorna, you never know this, but for sure that if I decide to retire right now or next year is because I want to stay at home and reset my mind. Then in the future we'll see but if I stay here, is to race, full commitment, but if I decide to finish, you will not see me in the paddock, for sure at least at the beginning!”

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