Aleix Espargaro eyes (very) long awaited first MotoGP win in 200th GP start

Records will fall and landmarks will be reached should Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro convert pole position for the Argentina MotoGP into a historic win

Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia Racing

Aleix Espargaro is confident he has a strong chance of breaking his long awaited victory duck in the Argentina MotoGP as he prepares to line-up for his 200th GP start from his first pole position in seven years.

In what could turn out to be a major turn up for the record books today, Espargaro will start Round 3 of the season from pole position, only the third of his career and his first since the 2015 Catalunya MotoGP.

On that day he rode for Suzuki and with his maiden pole position coming on the NGM Forward Yamaha bike at Assen the previous year, Espargaro becomes the first rider of the modern MotoGP era to secure a pole position with three different manufacturers.

The result is also a major landmark for Aprilia, which has never managed a pole position in MotoGP, with its last premier class top spot coming courtesy of Jeremy McWilliams in the 2000 Australian 500GP.

Moreover, if Espargaro does go ahead and win as he hits a double ton, it will smash the record for the most GP starts contested before recording a win in any class.

Indeed, the stars appear to be aligning for Espargaro, who has worked arduously with Aprilia since joining the Italian team in 2017. 

Since then, the manufacturer has steadily worked its way to the sharp end of the field and though it has only a single podium to its name since its full-scale return in 2015, Espargaro has been top ten in each of the races he has finished since the start of 2021.

Moreover, the Aprilia RS-GP looks quick around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, flattening out the ripples on course better than its rivals. Coupled with the strong race pace it showed in Qatar, the Spaniard is optimistic today will finally be his and Aprilia’s day.

“In Indonesia I was also not really fast and the potential of the bike in the wet was better. On dry I felt I could fight for the podium in Indonesia, and here, once again yes. 

“More than just this performance in Argentina, I’m happy because if we work well and we make no mistakes during the season, then I have the feeling inside that.

Indeed, Espargaro’s positivity extends far beyond simply performing well in Argentina, believing he has a bike capable of top three in the championship by the end of the season.

“I don’t want to say top three in the championship or whatever, but I have the feeling we can achieve many, many points. 

“If we are able to make no mistakes by the end of the season in Valencia then we can be in the top five in the championship. 

“This is due to the improvements in the bike that allow me to be fast and consistent in every track. That’s great for the rider.”