Exclusive Aleix Espargaro Interview: “I like it to race with my brother”
After a peculiar career full of detours which led him from 125cc to 250cc to the Spanish Moto2 Championship back to 250cc and to MotoGP, Aleix Espargaro has now arrived in the Moto2 world championship, riding his first full season in the class with the Pons Racing Team and hoping to finally find a bit of continuity.
Much was expected from the former MotoGP rider at the start of the year, but some tough first races made a real challenge for the title now a very difficult affair for the Catalan. But at his home Grand Prix Aleix finally scored his first podium in the world championship and is still looking quietly confident towards the rest of the season.
We took the opportunity to chat with Aleix ahead of the British Grand Prix last weekend.
It’s your first full season in the Moto2 class. What’s your take on the start of the year?
At the beginning I expected a little bit more, but in the first races we didn’t have much luck and I didn’t finish on the podium until last race in Barcelona. In Le Mans we also made good points and finished sixth, but for sure Jerez was a desaster, also Estoril. But anyway, the season is long and I think now we are more or less ready. I mean, the setup of the bike is okay and I understand this bike almost 100% now. It’s only race six, so it’s more or less okay.
Catalunya was not only your first Moto2 podium, but the first podium in your world championship career. You must have been so delighted with that.
Yes, for sure. It was a good weekend on my home track, because all weekend we were up front and finally in the race we got it and we took the podium and I’m really, really happy about it and for sure now I would like to continue on the podium in the next races.
Was this a bit of a turning point for you in the season? What made the difference that you were now able to get a podium?
Before Le Mans we did a test in Aragon, we changed the bike around completely, the setup, and in Le Mans it was much better. We finished sixth there and also in qualifying we finished fourth, so I think in Le Mans a lot of things had changed and for sure in Barcelona all weekend it was better.
You moved from MotoGP to Moto2 and of course Toni Elias did a great job last year in a similar situation. Do you see it for yourself as an advantage to have ridden in MotoGP? Or is it more of an advantage that you’ve been one of the first to ride the new Moto2 bikes in the Spanish Championship?
Yeah, for sure, both help me a little bit. But in the winter the riders tested a lot this year and a lot of riders who came from 125cc did many tests and I think in the end everyone started more or less ready. For sure I have a lot of experience with four-strokes like MotoGP and for sure it helps me a little bit, but I think last year was completely different. Elias did a great season, but the level was very different to this year, so I think it’s now completely open.
You have a rather patchy career in the world championship, jumping between classes a lot. Do you think it might even be an advantage to have ridden so many different bikes or is it more a disadvantage you?
No, I think it’s not an advantage, because I spent five years in the world championship and only now got a podium. So I think something was wrong. But it’s like this. I mean I was in all classes, all categories, I tried all bikes – 125cc, 250cc, Moto2, MotoGP – and for sure I have a good experience, but I’d like to now be in Moto2 to try to take more podiums and stay in this class for some more time.
So next year you’d also prefer to continue in the Moto2 class?
Yes, for sure. I will continue in Moto2.
At the start of the year you looked for the title as a goal for the season. Now that the first races haven’t really gone as planned, has that goal changed for you?
We’ll see how the season is going, but yes, for sure the target at the beginning was to battle for the championship. Now it is a little bit more difficult, we are I think 70 points or so behind and that’s too much. But we will try to battle until the last race and we have the same bike as Bradl, so I think we can battle with him.
And this year you’re in the same class as your brother for the first time in the world championship. That must be a different feeling for you, is it how you imagined it?
It’s great to ride with my brother in the same class, but at the moment we’re not together at the front of the field. I would like to be. Every time with him on the track it’s different than with other riders. It’s nice, I like it so much to ride with him. But for sure I’d like to race with him until the last lap, for a podium.
At the start of the year he also often mentioned that he’s got a bit of help from you in practice sessions, showing him the lines, giving a bit of a tow.
Yeah, in practice I try to help him, because we expected Pol would be a bit faster at the beginning, but he’s still learning the bike and he’s got a few problems, so I try to help him as much as I can.
We’d like to thank Aleix for taking the time to chat with us and Diego from Pons Racing for arranging the interview.
Photo Credit: Vroom Media