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Aleix Espargaro: ‘I’m arriving at Suzuki in the prime of my career’

Aleix Espargaro: ‘I’m arriving at Suzuki in the prime of my career’

Following Suzuki’s announcement on Tuesday that they will return to MotoGP™ in 2015 with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales as their two riders, Espargaro has spoken about his aspirations and impressions ahead of an exciting new challenge.

Espargaro has produced some strong performances in recent seasons on CRT and Open machinery and has now been rewarded with a factory ride. As the news was made official on Tuesday, he tweeted, ‘Really happy to announce that I will race with Suzuki next year! Really motivated on this new adventure!’

The rider from Granollers, close to the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, told, “I’m very happy because I think in the last three years we have done a good job. Suzuki is a very big factory and to be an official rider of such an important brand like Suzuki is an honor. It’s something I’ve dreamt about for years.”

Davide Brivio, Team Manager, said at the launch of the GSX-RR that it’s a completely new bike. What do you expect when you get to the garage?

“I’m sure it's going to be difficult, because the tests this year have not gone as well as Suzuki hoped for. I talked a lot with Davide and I know they have had to cancel tests because of rain. Now in Aragon they were unable to ride because of muddy rain. I know it will be hard work and it will not be easy, but this is a factory team and that means they also want to win alot, they want to do as much they can and do their part, just like Maverick and me, to put Suzuki back on top

Brivio also said Ducati’s level is an initial benchmark for Suzuki…

“Yes, it seems clear that at the beginning it would be wrong to compare ourselves with Honda or Yamaha. We need to keep our feet on the ground. Matching Ducati will also not be easy, they have done an outstanding job and recently they are also competitive in races. Dovizioso is having a superb year. But if I take on a challenge it’s to fight to be on top, to fight as soon as possible to get podiums. From the moment you turn down other offers with official bikes to go to a factory like Suzuki it is because you aspire to be the best. But of course I have to be patient at the beginning and develop the bike.”

Again 2014 is going well for you in the Open class and you had two years of success with the CRT. It seems that this project comes to you at the right time?

“I’m 25, I’m not so young, but I have a long way to go. I think the good phase of my career began three years ago with (Jorge Martinez) Aspar. Thanks to him I have this opportunity with Suzuki, because he believed in me when I had nothing else. I grew up a lot in Jorge’s team and this year with the Forward-Yamaha I have continued growing. I don’t know if it’s right for me to say it about myself, but I think I’m arriving at Suzuki in the prime of my career. I am ready for this challenge and I will work like a beast to achieve very good results for Suzuki.”

In 2016, several changes will come into effect in the MotoGP class. Do you see that as a major opportunity to get results?

“It’s one of the reasons why I decided to go to Suzuki. I know there will be many changes in 2016, and when there are changes the strongest teams will be those that adapt fastest. A factory team has the potential to adapt quickly and I think that will be a very interesting year. It takes some time with the bike, the electronics will be the same for everyone, there will be a change of tyres. It is a year which we have high hopes for.”

Suzuki’s last podium was with Chris Vermeulen in 2007 and their last world title was with Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000. Are those goals for you?

“It is obviously very difficult to think about winning World titles but that is the goal of all Japanese engineers, the riders and the team, to fight for the maximum. Then we will see what happens, but it is true that Suzuki is a brand with a rich history, World Champions. It’s not that many years ago that Roberts Jr won the World title.”

“Suzuki has not had a 100% official team in the World Championship for years. In recent seasons they had an outsourced team with Paul Denning, and things did not go as expected. Now it will be a full factory team. They're going to give everything because the goal is to win. We'll see how long it takes, but it is clear that the goal is to be on top. They are very optimistic and want to fight from the beginning for the podium. I honestly also feel like I can do something great with Suzuki.”

How do you feel it will all work with Maverick, as he will be a rookie in the category? Will you have more influence in developing the bike because you have more experience in MotoGP?

“I’m happy to have a teammate with a high level because he’s your first rival and if he is a talented rider you have to push yourself more. In this project it’s very important that we both work equally from the beginning. I believe that together we will advance a lot, but clearly I have much greater experience from the last three years of developing motorcycles and with MotoGP electronics. Maverick doesn’t. At first it will be hard for him, but he’s a rider with a spectacular natural talent. He learns fast and I am sure that in two or three races he will be there fighting with me. In my opinion, Suzuki have bet on the future and picked the most talented rider who can come into MotoGP.”

MotoGP, 2014, Aleix Espargaro

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