Alex Espargaro finished the front row in MotoGP for the third time in a row at Le Mans on Saturday. His performance makes him happy that Aprilia is hesitant about a new contract, but saddens him.
Aprilia factory rider Aleix Espargaró finished third in Saturday’s MotoGP qualifying session at the Bugatti Circuit. The Spaniard thus reached the top row of the grid for the fourth time in 2022 (first place in Argentina and third in Portimao, Jerez and Le Mans). The 32-year-old lost 0.159 seconds to first officer Pico Bagnaia (Ducati), who set a new lap record.
“I am glad that Le Mans is not one of my favorite rings. At the press conference at Le Mans, Alex explained that I always had a problem with the ‘stop and go’ circuits. “I immediately felt good on the first free practice, unfortunately, I made a huge mistake in FP4 I crashed and destroyed my #1 bike.
“I didn’t cover a meter on the second bike this weekend and didn’t know how the bike would behave,” Espargaro continued. In the end it was a strong lap, I missed the first place by only a tenth of a second. Unfortunately, I couldn’t drive as fast in the last sector as the two red boys in front of me,” a driver working in Aprilia laughed.
“It is the third race in a row where we have been able to show that we are very competitive. It makes me happy,” summed up the world championship runner-up and then emphasized: “It should be a good race. We are ready. It is difficult to overtake at Le Mans, so putting the grid in line is 1 helps us a lot. Unfortunately, like every year, the weather forecast for Sunday is: it’s unpredictable. So we have to wait and see, we can’t change it anyway.”
The Spaniard has been dazzled every weekend since the start of the season. He was on the front row of the net four times and finished on the podium three times – including a win at Las Termas. “I don’t know what to say about it,” Espargaro replied. “It is not up to me, I have said many times before that I would like to continue in Aprilia. I don’t understand what’s going on. It makes me a little sad, every race a little bit more. I can’t tell, it’s what it is, but I won’t wait forever.”
MotoGP result, Le Mans, Q2 (May 14):
1. Bagnaya, Ducati, 1: 30.450 sec
2. Miller, Ducati, 1: 30.519, min + 0.069 sec
3. Alex Espargaro, Aprilia, 1:30.609, +0.159
4. Quartararo, Yamaha, 1: 30.688, +0.238
5. Bastianini, Ducati 1: 30.711, +0.261
6. Zarco, Ducati, 1: 30.863, +0.413
7. MIR, Suzuki, 1: 30.943, +0.493
8. Rins, Suzuki, 1: 30.977, +0.527
9. Martin, Ducati 1: 31.068, +0.618
10. Marc Marquez, Honda, 1:31.148, +0.698
11. Paul Espargaro, Honda, 1: 31.526, +1.076
12. Nakagami, Honda, 1: 31.595, +1.145
Rest of the starting lineup:
13. Besicchi, Ducati, 1: 30.940 sec.
14. Vinales, Aprilia, 1:31, 271
15. Marini, Ducati 1: 31.363
16. Di Gianantonio, Ducati, 1: 31.487
17. Oliveira, KTM, 1: 31.547
18. Brad Bender, KTM, 1: 31.610
19. Morbidley, Yamaha, 1: 31.617
20. Dovizioso, Yamaha, 1: 31.618
21- Alex Marquez, Honda, 1: 31.763
22. Gardner, KTM, 1:31,820
23. Darryn Binder, Yamaha, 1: 32.596
24. Fernández, KTM, 1: 32.767