Aprilia has been waiting for this day ever since it had entered MotoGP, Aleix Espargarò for the last 200 Grands Prix: in Argentina everything turned out well. As if the curse had been broken and everything started to shine. Like the eyes of the Spaniard, exhausted and happy, a flowing river full of words putting so many emotions in order. The first victory is never something normal, it is special, unique, even more so when it has been chased after for a long time, coming up against doubts and fears.
“After yesterday's pole position, looking at my pace, everyone told me it would be easy for me to win. It wasn't - Aleix declared - I didn’t feel as good as in practice and then I had to deal with Martin, on Sundays, when the lights go out, he’s a killer. It wasn't easy to follow him, I made a couple of mistakes; I played a lot with the electronics, engine brake and traction control to save the tyre, but sincerely he was brave because he had the most difficult part which was leading almost all the race and showing to everybody the pace. During my career I always try to respect my opponents, trying to overtake clean and we showed today that you can pass without needing to touch each other. But even if you do touch like we did in the last race it’s nice and this is racing."
What did you think about when you crossed the finish line?
"About my family. Yesterday I talked to my son Max and he had reminded me that in Qatar I had promised to bring home a cup, but I didn’t, so I should have done it today. The twins and my wife Laura were my first thought, some riders want to have a friend or a professional team next to them, I want my family. It is my strength ".
How long did it take you to get to today?
“I’ve suffered a lot and Laura helped me a lot. I arrived home and thought of nothing but defeat on the track, she gave me her unconditional support. Three years ago I told her that maybe it was time to do something else, I wasn't happy ”.
Then what happened?
"Rivola arrived, before Albesiano did everything, Massimo changed the organization and Romano was able to concentrate on the development of the bike and was able to show that he was a good engineer. The RS-GP is one of the best bikes in the world ”.
This was not the case when you arrived in Noale.
"I wasn't on the list of the fastest riders, but no rider wanted the Aprilia. From day one I said I would take it to the top, even though I didn't expect it would take that long (laughs). Yesterday Redding, Iannone, Lowes, all the riders who raced with me, wrote to me that they were happy for me, they know how difficult it was, how far away we started. I think that now the Moto3 and Moto2 riders see Aprilia as an option, as a serious project. It is also good for the championship ”.
Who do you dedicate this victory to?
“To all those who work in Aprilia. For me, I’m obviously extremely happy to win the race, but for me personally nothing really changed. I’m a very lucky person and my job is my passion, I have a dream family, and I have everything a man can dream of. In Noale they believed in me and I in them, if you work hard, dreams will come true ”.
What does winning mean for you?
"I’m extremely happy because I feel like this championship is one of the most difficult ever because of the level. It took me 32 years but I managed it ”.
What happens now?
“This was not a lucky win, we deserved it, but we have to keep our feet on the ground. It will be a very long championship and, if we don't make mistakes, we can still fight for the podium or the win. I'm already thinking about the next races, in Austin, Portimao, Jerez ”.
Are you no longer thinking about retirement?
“It wouldn't be right for me to stop now. After all the work I've done and this victory, it would be good to continue for another year or two. But I don't want to think about the future now but enjoy this moment. It is very difficult for me to stay away from my family, but if I can fight for the top positions everything will be easier. I am happy in Aprilia, but you never know what the future holds".