Pilot, husband, dadAlex Espargari He is also the “Captain” of Team Aprilia in MotoGP and for the first time in his career he is fighting for the world title. Serena Zunino was able to chat with him by analyzing the current season, and this is what the Spaniard said.
The last time I interviewed you was 2017, how many things have happened in these six years?
Seems old. Many things have changed. I honestly expected it, but I also thought the process was faster. Maybe in three years. But the trip was beautiful.
How are you commenting this season?
I am very happy and very satisfied with the level we have reached. It was a relatively logical move after last year, which was a year of pure growth (for the engineers and me) even if not in terms of impressive results. Then came the decisive step this year as we fight for the title. Which is really an amazing thing.
Given all the growth this year, what are you most proud of?
See Aprilia in advance. Because in years past, especially in 2017 and 2018, I had a feeling I wasn’t driving any worse than now, but I couldn’t get results because the bike wasn’t ready. The great pride is that, together with all the engineers, with Romano (Albiano) and the other people, we were able to create a bike on the level of the best bikes in the world.
Can you tell me how you feel about your first win in Argentina?
It was a strange weekend because on Wednesday and Thursday we thought we couldn’t really race. The boxes did not arrive. From the first session, from the first laps, I immediately felt something special and the riders felt it. I felt everything was so easy, the bike was perfect, I was so strong, then I came first, the fastest lap, the victory… Great weekend.
How hard is it to redeem 33 points?
On the one hand, I see a few points, in a tournament like this and with six good players left. On the other hand, if you analyze the latest races, you will realize that there are not very few. Fabio is very strong, he is at a very high level, he makes few mistakes. Up to 35-40 points we can play. But if the gap widens it will be difficult.
Who are the pilots Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia?
Pecco has found the stability it lacked before which is very important in MotoGP. I am a clear example of that. He’s always had speed, and he’s been a very fast driver at specific moments of the season. In my opinion he has the best bike.
Fabio is driving at a very high level. In the past 10 years, if I think of a racer who drove like he is now, Marc Marquez comes to mind. Fabio doesn’t have a winning bike, he lacks a lot of engines, but he’s able to ride really hard in all conditions and on all tracks, and he doesn’t make any mistakes. After all, he is the world champion and the driver to beat.
What do you expect from the next GPs?
Aragon is a good track for our bike. Back in the day when the Asian triple arrived in the latter part of the season was a bit heavy, I was away from home for a long time. Instead, I am very motivated this year, and have a great desire to get to Australia, Japan, and especially Malaysia, where I did well in the winter. These are the tracks that I really like and where I think my bike does very well. The last part of the tournament is favorable.
How much do you think of the title?
Many. It’s not an obsession, because I’d be happy to also finish in the top three, which is still going to be impressive. But I believe in him a lot. If I’m fighting for the title now, it means that I’ve done extraordinary things so far and that I deserve this championship. I see I’m doing well, my team is very calm and doing very well. I am very confident.
Among other things, she arrives at an unconventional moment in her career, as she is 33 years old.
It’s very strange, because it’s not only about my age, but also about Aprilia, who was for the first time in such a position in MotoGP. It is a historical thing. I cannot explain how happy I am. A lot of people have told me I have a lot of stress, and obviously there, on Sunday, I come home more tired, but it’s so much fun. I would never have said it but things always happen for a reason.
What does Aprilia require for 2023?
An evolution, not a revolution. We’ve taken a huge step forward in the last couple of years, and now we have a very competitive bike, so next year we’re a bit lacking in understanding how to better park the bike. In this Ducati now stronger. And then I always strive for more strength, it is never enough.
What connects you with Aprilia?
I feel a lot more now that it’s mine: the bike, the team, the people. I feel part of this family. I feel like a part of my body, but apart from that during the weekends I feel at home. My children come, run to the hospitality, go to the garage. I am really happy.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I’m a good person, nervous and a bit energetic at times, although I’ve improved a bit in that aspect. I am very optimistic and above all generous.
You are also generous with some competitors, as I think of Jorge Martin for example, which is not common.
it’s the truth. The speech came this year that it’s not good for the show if we’re all friends. I struggle to have a bad relationship with people. Even if they were one of my rivals, for example with Fabio (Quartararo) during the season, we had some moments of tension, if I saw him in Andorra I would stop and say hello. He came to eat at my restaurant, and to play with my kids because we live in the same neighborhood. True, it’s weird, but it’s my personality.
Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez will arrive in Aprilia next year as part of the RNF team, how do you rate this news?
Razlan Razali with Massimo (Rivola) and Aprilia made a very strong team. I’m a fan of Raul, last year in Moto2 he was superior, this year he suffered a lot, but this will make him even stronger. Oliveira is a great talent. From the outside, it looks like he has lost some hope and motivation, Aprilia will be a new project for him, with a competitive bike… With their help and the help of Maverick (Vinales) we can also fight for the constructors’ championship, against Ducati who has eight bikes. It was going to be awesome.
Do you see your heir on the path between your children Max and Mia?
I do not wish! I am lucky to have lived this life, it has given me so much, but it is a dangerous sport where you suffer so much. I would like them to choose a quieter sport. It’s weird now because he likes to take part in races, but he doesn’t like to ride a bike. True they are only 4 years old, but at their age I was already competing in motocross and scooter races, but they don’t like it at all. It’s weird, but that’s fine.
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This is the 2022 first division calendar and championship standings.