Aleix Espargaro was a very popular winner as some comments from his fellow riders on the podium show. There was genuine warmth when both Jorge Martin and Alex Rins individually got up from their seats to hug their friend, rival and fellow Andorra resident.
Jorge Martin – P2
“Aleix gave me a house, he gave me food, he gave me a place to train when I had nothing, as he know I’m from a really humble family, so he helped me a lot in my past with all my career, spending a lot of time with me, and making me be a better rider, so it’s the best thing today with his victory and I’m sure we’ll have a beer afterwards.”
Alex Rins – P3
“I’m super happy for Aleix as what Jorge said is true, Aleix is a really good guy, also when I arrived in 2017, in Andorra, he was living already two years and we were training together. So I am so happy for him and his family, he deserved this first position.”
For the winner himself, he was expansive in his comments and answers in the post race press conference.
“I made a couple of mistakes then I recovered, I played a lot with electronics, with engine brake and traction control to try and save the maximum tyre possible for the last four laps. But since Jorge was brave, he led the more difficult part of the race, showing everyone the pace, and the track as they say today was very difficult.
“I think that during my career I always try and respect my opponents trying to overtake clean and even more with a friend, so you know we showed today that you can pass a couple of times, no problem, you don’t need to touch each other. But even if he touched me a little bit like he did in the last race, this is racing, this is nice, when you are fighting for the victory sometimes it’s not easy.
“Many things have changed since I arrived at Aprilia six years back, basically from three years ago when Massimo [Rivola] arrived in Aprilia Racing the organisation has changed a lot, in the past Romano Albesiano was in charge of almost everything, Paolo Bonora was electronics boss, so Massimo started to change a little bit the organisation in Noale, the way they work. Romano started to be more focused on the development of the bike, he’s the father of the bike and he proved that he’s a very good engineer, but sometimes you need to be focussed in on your job. Romano proved that because the RS-GP 2022 is now one of the best bikes in the world, so I think the organisation by Massimo has been the key, the potential was there for sure, the resources have increased in the last year and they’ve brought in more engineers, as otherwise it would be impossible. But the people who started the project are still working here, and that’s something that makes me very, very happy and at the same time makes me very proud.
“I remember perfectly when I was in Suzuki with Maverick, and I finished there because I was not competitive enough and Aprilia called me, and I was obviously not on the top of the list of fast riders, at all, but nobody was going there. I mean the fast riders didn’t want to go there, no one believed in the project, so from the first day I said I will try and make this bike win and put the bike on top, and I never suspected it would take me so long, but finally we are achieving.
“Even three years ago we tried to convince some young riders to come and they said – they are in Moto2 – they said they would prefer to wait for another bike. So this makes me more hungry, gives me extra motivation, because you will remember this day as not a good day in your life, when you say no to Aprilia. So now I’m happy and yesterday with pole, Sam Lowes, Andrea Iannone, Scott Redding and all the riders I race Aprilia with all texted me and were very happy for me and Aprilia, as they know how hard it has been, they know how far the bike was in the past and the level we are showing now I think is good.
“Still a lot of job to do, but I think now the young riders in Moto2 and Moto3 start to see the project of Aprilia as more serious as an option for the future and I think that’s also great for the sport, for the championship as there’s a lot of strong manufacturers, as you can almost win on any bike. This year KTM wins, Ducati wins, Aprilia wins, Honda is strong, Suzuki is also strong with this pair of riders, and with the bikes Yamaha is the current World Champion.
“We knew from last year after the Covid, obviously it’s clear that we had an advantage, Aprilia had an advantage, it was the most underrated bike, but with the work we did we came closer. So we know that the level of the six manufacturers was very high and the six manufacturers have very strong riders, so I think that’s fantastic for the sport. It’s difficult in the past it was just two manufacturers fighting for the victory, now you have six bikes and six man fighting, so I think it’s fantastic.
“My wife was not here with me on such a special day, but before the race I talked with Max and she said to me, in Qatar before the race you said to me that you were strong and could give me a trophy and you did not. You didn’t give me a trophy so please this time try and bring home a trophy. So I said I will try my best and when I crossed that chequered flag winning it was the first thing that came to mind, the twins and Laura, as you know every racer is different, some riders just need to have a friend at your side, or to have a professional team, for me the most important thing in this world is my wife and my two kids. That’s all I need and they are my strength and I really would like to have them here today, but thanks to the technology I was able to talk with Laura after the race and we were very very happy.
“Pol has a complete different character to me, and I know how difficult it is for him after a defeat or crash, and he came to me he was almost crying, he knows how I struggle all my career, for him it was a pleasure winning championships, and winning races, but he knows that I also have a winning character and also worked very hard for this, so today I think his crash was a little less painful. I’m sad for him, because he was doing an excellent place fighting for the podium with Alex (Rins), so it’s a shame as I love Alex, but it would also be nice to have Pol on the podium. He came to me to congratulate me which was also very nice.
“For sure has not been easy, but not everyone can win, so I always try and work hard, for me I can’t be upset for long as I have a dream life, my job is my passion, I get paid for it, I have super beautiful family, I have the life that almost all kids dream of. If I didn’t win I struggled a lot, but it was my job, so I was always happy to be here and obviously it was not easy in some stages, because you feel like you are riding good, many times during my career I was not fast enough, but also there was years I was very very strong and I couldn’t show my potential because I did not have the bike. But it is how it is. This is a job, I always work very very hard, and eventually the rest will arrive. Some riders can win the title very young and then after a few years disappear go back home, we have a lot of examples of Moto3 and 125 that they are no longer here. For me its the opposite, I’m like the red wine. So I will try and achieve all the good results that I didn’t achieve when I was young.
“Feet on the ground that’s for sure. The championship is extremely long this year, but yes if we don’t make any mistake we’ll be in the mix for the big podiums every weekend and I’ll try my best, I’m more focused than ever. Very happy for today, but already thinking of America, Portugal, I would really like to keep the momentum. I’m in the last part of my career for sure as I’m 32 years old so I want to finish in the best way possible.
“Obviously in some moments it was very difficult, but when I say that Laura my wife was the best help I ever had, I’m not saying just to say, it’s the truth, she was able to do one very difficult thing, when I arrive home she gives me a lot of unconditional support. In the past, I remember I would arrive home and it was impossible for me to not think about the defeat of Sunday, but of the last three or four years, with her and the kids, they were my strength and they give me a huge positive energy that at the end, I’m riding the same, I feel from three years ago I’m riding good but now I have this positive mind and the good bike that gives me obviously some help, and that has been the key. The race was not easy, because from this morning everyone was saying you have a lot of pace and will win easy, and I said yes, I will win very easy and you know racing is racing, I knew that some riders had a lot of pace and I knew also that Jorge starting from second is a killer. I knew that was very difficult with him, 100 per cent. I tried to enjoy the moment of being the first one in the grid after my pole position and I said to myself if you were able to enjoy riding the bike finishing 12, 14th 10th, what do you have to be nervous about? You are very strong, go out there and have fun, if you finish second or third it will be a very good race. I think I manage in a very good way, Jorge and Alex have been winning since they were 10 years old and managing this situation for me was not easy but I think I did it in quite a good way.”
I don’t know any rider who is not happy about your victory and that’s not easy…..
Aleix: “I like your question because that’s one of the things that make me more happy, as I said before, it will not change my life the victory, everyone was saying you have to win, but I am very happy with my life, this will not change anything in my life, but to see how the people react, every team and yesterday you can not imagine how many messages I received from everybody, all my mates, paddock, this is something that is very important, because it means that people love me. I think it’s very important because at the end when you go home and retire, the people will remember you as a person and for me that’s very important. So I would like to say thanks for everybody in this paddock and everybody behind the screens that is happy for my victory because they know difficult it was for me win, so thanks to everybody.”
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