Aleix Espargaró announces his surprise retirement

This weekend Aleix Espargaró was already the protagonist at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. His image was on the cover of the curious poster for the 2024 Catalunya GP. But from now on it will be much more so, and the Aprilia rider has called an extraordinary press conference in which he announced his retirement of the.

For some time now, Aleix Espargaró had been leaking the idea that, perhaps, we were facing his last contract as a MotoGP rider. At the end of the season he fulfilled the agreement he had with Aprilia. A union that we were able to experience firsthand as guests in Noale, when Aprilia was very far from its current moment, and was still under the umbrella of Fausto Gresini.

In this way, after eight seasons (time flies by), the balance is very different from what we all might have thought at that time and in subsequent years. Based on the fight on the part of Aprilia and the Granollers rider, the competitiveness of both grew to culminate in 2022, in which they achieved their first victory in the premier category to fight for the championship practically until the end.

Aleix Espargaró will continue competing until the end of the season

In 2023 things did not go as everyone expected and Aleix ultimately finished in sixth position overall, but scoring two historic victories. One in Silverstone and another, precisely in Montmeló, where today he announced the end of his career as a full-time MotoGP rider when the 2024 season ends.

At the press conference Aleix, who debuted in the World Championship in 125 in 2004, wanted to thank both Aprilia and his entourage and left the phrase “full-time MotoGP rider”, in addition to talking about the possibility of be a test pilot although emphasizing that his future will be known later.

In fact, in the statement in which Aprilia made Aleix's retirement public, Espargaró's own statements include “full time”, which clearly leaves the door open to playing another role.

For now Aleix, with one of the most atypical sporting careers that we can find on the current MotoGP grid, has competed in 125, 250, Moto2 and MotoGP (also within the CRT category where he was the best for two seasons). He has competed in 326 races, achieving 5 pole positions, 12 podiums and 3 victories. Of all this record, only one podium belongs to Moto2, the rest have been achieved in the premier category.

These are the official statements of Aleix and, also, of Maverick Viñales and Massimo Rivola.

The team has turned to Aleix, whom they have called Capitano

Aleix Espargaro: «I am happy to announce my retirement as a full-time cyclist. It has been a wonderful 20 years in this paddock and I am very happy and proud of what we have achieved together with Aprilia. We made history and that will never be forgotten. I have had a lot of fun and we have created an incredible group of people. We have a very nice weekend ahead of us, on a track that I like and where I am fast, and there are still many races until Valencia to be competitive.

Maverick Viñales: «Aleix is ​​a great teammate. We have spent four years together and lived unforgettable moments. Together we took Aprilia to the top, I have great memories with Aleix. “We still have a year ahead of us to take Aprilia even higher together.”

Massimo Rivola: «Thank you Aleix, because with you we have built an incredible story. Thank you for not giving up during difficult times and for being a great example for all of us. You won the captain's armband on the field through merit. You gave us the first podium, the first pole, the first victory here in Barcelona and the first double with Maverick. Your spirit, with your ups and downs, with your character, reflect the energy of this team and the entire Noale factory. I don't know what you will do in the future, but you will always remain an Aprilia rider. Starting today, a new page opens for the rider market and Aprilia Racing will not sit idly by. With our style, we will ensure a great future for this team, which you have helped to form a truly top-level team.”

A stage is closed, but the loss of Aleix as a permanent driver leaves many options open

Now, after the emotional moment, comes the second part of this announcement. There is one of the most competitive bikes on the grid available for next season, and there are many who aspire to it.

One of the names is, precisely, another of Aleix's great friends, the championship leader Jorge Martín. But for that we will still have to wait.

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