A. Espargaro urges Aldeguer to make MotoGP™ jump amid Honda links

At just 18 years old, the young Spaniard is in talks to replace Marc Marquez at Repsol Honda in 2024

It is the last major piece of the puzzle that has yet to fall into place for 2024. 21 out of 22 seats have been filled on next season’s grid, but the identity of the final rider is still unknown as Repsol Honda’s quest to replace eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez continues.

Numerous names have surfaced in connection with this vacancy, among them is Fabio Di Giannantonio, the rider whom Marquez will displace at Gresini Racing. However, now standing out as a frontrunner for the role is Moto2™ rising starlet Fermin Aldeguer. At just 18 years old, the Spaniard currently competes with Luca Boscoscuro’s Moto2™ Speed Up team and has garnered considerable attention since his debut in the intermediate class back in 2021.

It would certainly make for an interesting move for both parties and one that has captured the attention of some of the biggest names in the sport. Some may sound cautious about making such a big move at a tender age, but Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) believes it’s an opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands.

“Fermin is ready, he’s very fast. In the last races he’s shown how fast he is. He reminds me a little bit of Fabio [Quartararo] with his style on the bike, it’s also the same way of going to MotoGP,” Espargaro said on Thursday in Malaysia.

Despite the encouragement, the three-time MotoGP™ race winner did offer a warning to Aldeguer about his potential destination, questioning his maturity in taking on such a large factory project and if it would be better to wait another year before making a move.

“You’re asking me this because it sounds like he can go to Honda, so the question is different. If he’s ready to go to MotoGP with my bike or Pecco’s [Bagnaia] bike, or to go to Honda - that’s two different things. He’s 18, so mentally he’s not ready. Technically, he’s a fast rider and I think he can be fast in MotoGP quite easily. But to struggle with a bike that still isn’t competitive, I don’t know if he’s ready mentally.

“He hasn’t asked me for my opinion and I’m very happy that he hasn’t because it’s a very difficult answer. I would say yes, take the chance. It’s a factory. But in 2024 we all finish our contracts and he could be a World Champion by then and then jump up. But who says in one or two years the Honda won’t be winning again? So, it’s very, very difficult for him.

“I would take it. But I made many mistakes in my career, so I’m not sure if I’m an example. You have to be patient and he’s 18. If he doesn’t take the chance then he will have two or three more in the future.”

Esparagro admits he is a fan of his Moto2™ compatriot, having already likened him to 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), and enjoys how he goes about his business on track in what can be a mentally and physically challenging intermediate class.

“I like that he always works alone, he never follows someone. You don’t usually see this in young riders. This is very important. Even though he can still grow mentally, I think he’s very strong. He’s obviously very fast in terms of technique, but mentally he’s strong. It’s not easy when you’re the only one that has a bike, as his rivals are all with Kalex, because you can have difficult moments not knowing if it’s the bike or you. To understand those situations and get through it is tough, but he’s able to do it. He’s able to get through that and win, plus make a big difference with his teammate right now, so that shows he’s strong mentally.”

Having claimed a breakthrough World Championship win at the 2023 British GP, Aldeguer is currently on a run of three consecutive podiums including a win in our most recent outing in Thailand that sees him sit sixth in the Championship standings. It’s that form that has seen him catch the eye of the premier class, and you’ll be able to see the Spaniard in action for yourself this weekend at the Malaysian GP.

VideoPass from €19.99

All of the LIVE & OnDemand content at your fingertips for an exceptional price

Subscribe Now!