MotoGP Portimao: ‘Life is good’ for Espargaro, ‘satisfied’ with podium

04/25/2022 |

Picture: GeeBee Images

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro enjoyed his second podium of the 2022 MotoGP season at Portimao on Sunday after a late-race crash removed two of his rivals.

Espargaro was preparing himself for a podium fight as he reeled in Jack Miller and Joan Mir in the closing stages of the Portuguese GP but a turn one move by the Australian for third position saw the Ducati lock the front and slide out of the race, taking the Suzuki with him.

With the second GSX-RR of Alex Rins a comfortable three seconds behind, the Spaniard was assured of a trip to the rostrum and while he’d have liked to fight for more, third position was enough after a difficult weekend on the Algarve.

“Yeah, I’m satisfied,” Espargaro admitted post race, after a less than ideal start left him circulating in the seventh for the opening lap. “We have to improve the clutch. We are having some trouble with the clutch this year sincerely. We know we have to improve on that area because it’s very important the first part of the race.

“But then, once I over took Alex Marquez and [Miquel] Oliveira – it wasn’t easy. When I had free track, I show a good pace. I was able to catch the guys in front of me.

“I was ready to attack them because I felt a lot stronger. It was a shame sincerely the mistake of Jack but this is racing and at the end of the podium is good for me. I also try to attack Johann [Zarco] but it was impossible, I had no traction, I destroyed the rear tyre, so I’m happy.”

A win in Texas and a podium in Portimao shows the current level and potential of the RS-GP, with Aprilia on the brink of losing it’s concessions completely. It’s a fact the 32-year-old relishes.

“Sincerely I never like it, these concessions, never ever,’ he explained. “I think we have to fight with the same weapons as the rest. I’m not stupid. I know that these concessions help us, for sure. But now we are fighting with the big boys. We have same weapons of them and we show that our bike is competitive. So I hope that we can already lose it in Jerez, if we didn’t lose already I hope that in Jerez will be the last race.”

He’s also just three points adrift of the joint championship leaders – Fabio Quartararo and Rins – heading into his first home race of the year.

“I’m very happy, very, very happy actually,” he confirmed. “If you tell me this winter or in Christmas, I’ll be very nervous to handle this situation. I don’t know why but I’m super relaxed, very happy, enjoying!

“You cannot imagine how much I’m enjoying this moment. To ride at this level is unbelievable. It’s very, very difficult, has been all my career to reach this, so I’m relaxed, happy. life is good

“So I just try to keep the feet on the ground and hopefully this year have 100 races to enjoy like this because again, it’s very difficult to ride like this, to have this level. So I hope that we can continue like this.”