Espargaro ‘happy’ to quit MotoGP if new Aprilia offer doesn’t arrive

Aleix Espargaro says he is “happy” to leave MotoGP at the end of 2022 if he had not been able to agree with Aprilia on a new contract.

On Thursday, ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Aprilia confirmed it had re-signed Espargaro and Maverick Vinales for two more years.

It ends weeks of talks between Espargaro and Aprilia dating back to March’s Indonesian GP, ​​with the Argentine race winner admitting in April that initial talks left him “sad” as the two sides were far apart.

Espargaro, whose new contract is expected to be worth around two million euros a year, maintains his “desire” has always been to stay with Aprilia for 2023, but had no problem agreeing to 2022 as his final year in MotoGP in had arrived there.

“I wasn’t really looking for other real options,” Espargaro said at Mugello on Thursday. “I said from the start that my desire was to stay with Aprilia, so it was still quite early to find other options.

“I am 32 years old, I feel that I still have a lot of energy to stay in this paddock, to show my potential.

“But if it was time to leave and try other things, I was happy – and after Argentina even more so.

“But ultimately, I’m very happy and grateful for the opportunity Aprilia is giving me for the next two years.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose/Motorsport Images

Aprilia is keen to expand its roster of bikes for 2023, with Leopard Racing admitting last month that it wants to take over Suzuki’s grid spots next year and field RS-GPs.

Yamaha’s current satellite team, RNF, has also been linked to Aprilia for next year.

Asked about an update to his satellite plans for 2023, Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola said his deadline for finding a team was “around that time” but said expanding his presence on the grid was not “something we have to do”.

“I would like to tell you that the answer is very soon, but in a way it will be very soon whether it is a yes or a no because the deadline that we have given is around this time,” said said Rivola.

“So if it’s possible, it’s something I’m pushing for, and Aleix is ​​pushing me to do it. If it’s not possible, we will continue as we have done so far.

“It’s not that it’s something we have to do, it’s an opportunity for our business to grow, it’s an opportunity to grow the bike, the riders, the engineers. It’s an opportunity , but to do it right, we need to have a yes or no in very few days.”

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