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After a successful first year with the factory Suzuki team, which included a pole position and 12 top ten finishes, Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) went into 2016 hoping to be able to consistently fight for the podium.
Despite the arrival of a fully seamless gearbox on the GSX-RR the Catalan rider had a hard time finding his rhythm early in the season, starting with two 11th places in Qatar and Argentina. He made a leap forward to finish fifth in Austin, repeating the feat at the first European round of the season in Jerez.
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He then crossed the line in sixth at Le Mans as his teammate Maverick Viñales secured the first podium for Suzuki since their return to the premier class in 2015. Espargaro was struggling to match the pace of his teammate and the rider from Granollers could only finish ninth at Mugello. He was then forced to retire from his home race at the Catalan GP as he fell victim to technical issues.
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Following the announcement that Suzuki had signed Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) for 2017, the older of the Espargaro brothers confirmed he would continue in MotoGP™ next season with the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini alongside current Moto2™ rider Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2).
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He was then amongst the many riders that fell foul of the tricky conditions at Assen, crashing out of the restarted 12-lap race in the wet. He struggled again in the flag-to-flag race at the Sachsenring, eventually finishing in 14th to reach the summer break in 11th overall in the championship with 51 points.