Aprilia MotoGP Rider Aleix Espargaro to Retire at End of 2024

Aprilia MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro has announced he will retire at the end of the 2024 season during a press conference in Barcelona

Aleix Espargaro. - Gold and Goose

Ahead of this weekend’s MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix, Aleix Espargaro has announced that he will retire from MotoGP at the end of this season.

Espargaro’s first MotoGP season was with the Aspar team in 2010, but after dropping back to the Moto2 class in 2011 the Catalan found himself back in the premier class in 2012 - again with Aspar - but in the CRT class on a production-derived Aprilia.

Espargaro was the standout rider in the second tier of the premier class when it was CRT in 2012 and 2013, and then after he moved to the Forward Yamaha team for 2014 when it became the Open class. His performances earned him a ride at the new Suzuki factory team for 2015, where he was teammates with Maverick Vinales. Vinales mostly out-performed Espargaro during 2015 and 2016, so when he left for Yamaha for 2017, Espargaro went the other way, to Aprilia.

Espargaro’s journey with the Noale brand is the one that will define his legacy. Aprilia’s RS-GP had never been capable of fighting for the top positions in MotoGP since it first entered the championship in 2015, and Espargaro endured four difficult seasons with the bike before its performance really started to improve.

In 2020, Aprilia abandoned its narrow-angle V4 for a 90-degree V4, but reliability needed improving and that meant the engine was run on reduced performance before 2021. That year, Espargaro gave Aprilia its first MotoGP podium at the British Grand Prix, and by 2022 they’d become MotoGP race winners together at the Argentinian Grand Prix. Last year, Espargaro won three times more: British Grand Prix, Catalan Sprint, and Catalan Grand Prix.

In 2024, Espargaro is so far without a podium, but Maverick Vinales - who joined Espargaro at Aprilia in the middle of 2021 - won both the Sprint and Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas last month.

The Aprilia RS-GP is now a regular contender for MotoGP wins, and a potential title contending motorcycle. Espargaro’s retirement will - without a significant turnaround this season for him to overcome the 78-point deficit he currently faces to points leader Jorge Martin - mean he will not be the rider to bring the World Championship to Noale, but his role in the development of the bike cannot be underestimated.

Espargaro’s retirement will come one year after his brother, Pol Espargaro, left MotoGP to be replaced by Pedro Acosta at the GasGas Tech3 team. Pol is now the official MotoGP test rider for KTM, a role currently filled at Aprilia by Lorenzo Savadori but one that does not seem out of the question for a rider of Espargaro’s experience, both in MotoGP and with Aprilia.

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