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Well deserved first MotoGP™ podium for Aleix Espargaro

Well deserved first MotoGP™ podium for Aleix Espargaro

A tricky Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon saw NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro take his first ever MotoGP™ podium.

A touch with Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) at Turn 3 on the opening lap sent the elder Espargaro brother wide, resulting in him finishing the first lap last. The subsequent laps saw the Open rider cut through the field and close in on the battle for fifth, featuring his brother Pol.

It was at this point that rain began to fall and the Forward rider took a gamble, the first to enter the pits and change to his wet weather bike. This decision proved to be critical as he was in second as the other riders changed their bikes on the subsequent laps.

Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was untouchable ten seconds ahead, but a fierce battle with Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) emerged on the final lap. The two riders crossed the line with elbows clashing as neither had full visibility. Fortunately both riders stayed upright and Espargaro came home second, just 0.016s ahead of Crutchlow, becoming the first ever Open class rider to finish on the podium.

An ecstatic Espagaro said, “I’m really proud of this race, it wasn’t easy! We changed the bike fully and didn’t test it in the Warm Up. I got touched by Smith in Turn 3 and I crossed the line last. I had to breathe and overtake a lot of riders, I got up to sixth but then the rain came and we got slower and slower. The rain never really stopped it just kept getting a wetter. I changed one lap before everyone else and this was key.”

“It was strange as I had problems with my visor so I couldn’t see anything and I was focusing so hard. I heard Cal’s engine so I thought ‘oh no’ and opened my arms to stop him. He couldn’t change gears as we touched so we got a little lucky because the Ducati has so much power. The last laps were the longest five laps of my life. It’s great for the team and thanks to them and my family,” he added.

MotoGP, 2014, GRAN PREMIO MOVISTAR DE ARAGÓN, Aleix Espargaro, NGM Forward Racing

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