Aleix Espargaro – The road to the 2013 CRT title
With eleven prototype MotoGP machines on the grid, it is no easy task to score a top ten finish, let alone rack up a total of 88 points after just sixteen races. It is a fact worth remembering when considering the achievement of POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider Aleix Espargaró in 2013, who on Sunday wrapped up the title of ‘CRT Champion’ for the second successive season. In 2012 his biggest challenge came from across the garage in the shape of his team-mate Randy De Puniet, but this year his only real rival has been himself in an historic campaign for the young Spaniard.
Last year the ART machine already proved to be strong in handling and in turning so for 2013 its designers attempted to make it more flexible, offering a wider variety of set-up options. Aleix understood the complexities of the new machine immediately, ably supported by a crew of mechanics that he had built an almost subconscious understanding with over the previous twelve months. Previously an impulsive young rider, Aleix found in the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar team a family where he could grow and develop as a rider. Thanks to this implicit understanding he has been the only alternative in the CRT category this season.
Espargaró kicked off the season with three CRT wins in a row in Qatar, Austin and Jerez – three different kinds of tracks with different conditions that saw him not only victorious in his field but also reducing the gap to the overall winner. In the next race at Le Mans he negotiated the wet conditions to take his first MotoGP general classification top ten finish, a breakthrough result that led to his best spell of the season. In the Italian, Catalan, Dutch and German rounds he scored back-to-back eighth place finishes, the top CRT each time and amongst the factory prototypes. The crowning glory was at Sachsenring, where he qualified in fifth place in QP2 and ran in the podium positions early on, finishing just thirty seconds behind the race winner.
The first half of the season ended on a low note, however, with a first race crash at Laguna Seca. However, there was little doubt that the CRT title would still be his and he made sure with some consistent results at Indianapolis, Brno and Silverstone before returning to his best form at Misano where he qualified sixth. Only a mistake at the start saw Aleix given a jump-start penalty, returning to the track in last place but fighting back to thirteenth. It was only the second time up to that point in 2013 that he had failed to finish as the top CRT. Also he finishes 11th in the third Spanish round of the season in Aragón.
Malaysia saw him storm back into the top ten in ninth place and in Australia, where he arrived with a 51-point advantage over Colin Edwards, he needed simply to finish ahead of the Texan to make sure of the CRT title for the second straight year. With 11th place Aleix Espargaró put the seal on the championship, bringing his total to 88 points with two rounds remaining, compared to 74 points throughout the whole of last season. Magic numbers from a rider who has enjoyed the best season of his career under the guidance of the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team.
2013 race by race
01 GP Qatar – 11th – 1st CRT – 49.809” from the winner
02 GP of the Americas – 11th – 1st CRT – 48.837” from the winner
03 GP Spain – 9th – 1st CRT – 43.812” from the winner
04 GP France – 13th – 1st CRT – 1’.24” from the winner
05 GP Italy – 8th – 1st CRT – 39.802” from the winner
06 GP Catalunya – 8th – 1st CRT – 58.615” from the winner
07 GP Dutch – 8th – 1st CRT – 32.405” from the winner
08 GP Germany – 8th – 1st CRT – 30.324” from the winner
09 GP USA – DNF
10 GP Indianapolis – 12th – 1st CRT – 1’.06” from the winner
11 GP Czech Republic – 10th – 1st CRT – 56.392” from the winner
12 GP Great Britain – 10th – 1st CRT – 53.196” from the winner
13 GP San Marino – 13th – 1’.07” from the winner
14 GP Aragón – 11th – 1st CRT – 58.001” from the winner
15 GP Malaysia – 9th – 1st CRT – 59.264” from the winner
16 GP Australia – 11th – 46.099” from the winner
Source: Aspar Media