Gritty Espargaro finally grinds out first Aprilia podium after six-year wait

Aleix Espargaro delivers the Aprilia RS-GP its first MotoGP podium with a gritty and determined display during the British MotoGP at Silverstone.

Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia Racing Aprilia RS-GP

Aprilia Racing is celebrating its first premier class podium since 2000 - and the first of the four-stroke MotoGP era - after Aleix Espargaro finally delivered on the promise of the RS-GP to cling onto third in the British MotoGP.

The Spaniard is in his fourth season with Aprilia but in the time had achieved only a best-result of sixth - albeit on several occasions - with the RS-GP making only modest improvements since the manufacturer returned to MotoGP in 2015.

However, while that erstwhile PB of sixth remained coming into Silverstone, it belied a significant step forward for the bike in Espargaro’s hands this year.

Making the most of a strong start from the second row to follow brother Pol Espargaro initially - no doubt much to the delight of some proud parents - while his sibling would slip back, Aleix held firm inside the top three into the closing stages.

With Miller mounting an attack on the final lap, Espargaro briefly lost position but coolly snatched it back with the undercut, clinching the result Aprilia have been waiting for.

"It’s like a dream,” Espargaro beamed. “I’m super happy. It has been a long way to arrive here. Step-by-step I always believed in the project and I work more than ever, so for everybody in Aprilia this is like a dream.

"I want to enjoy, but believe me I want more and more and we are in a good moment. 

"We have to keep working hard and I would like to say thanks to all of them. It hasn’t been an easy race and I didn’t want to make any mistakes.

"I had a little bit more pace but this is the first podium and is for everybody.”

It is the first podium for Aprilia in the premier class since Jeremy McWilliams finished third at the 2000 British MotoGP, then held at Donington Park.

Espargaro is expected to be joined by new team-mate and former Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales from Misano onwards.