Seen very much as the revelation of the pre-season in 2014, Aleix Espargaro experienced a dramatic opening race to the campaign in Qatar. The NGM Forward Racing rider now discusses the events of Losail, recent surgery, his own aspirations for the season and the premier class arrival of younger brother Pol.
Aleix and Pol Espargaro will be racing in MotoGP in 2014, but they will not be the first brothers to line up on the same premier-class grid.
There are a number of milestones with respect to brothers racing together in the premier class – which the Espargaros can measure themselves against:
- The last time that two brothers competed together in a MotoGP race was at the USGP in 2010 at Laguna Seca, with Nicky Hayden on the factory Ducati and Roger Lee Hayden riding as a replacement for Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda. Both riders scored points: Nicky finishing 5th and Roger Lee 11th.
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s MotoGP rookie Pol Espargaro crashed with just two laps to go in a Qatar race simulation, breaking his left collarbone just two weeks before his first premier class Grand Prix.
After an otherwise solid preseason – he was second quickest on Sunday and just 0.033s off his brother Aleix’s best time of the test – the Moto2 World Champion now flies home to Barcelona and will go straight to the operating room for surgery in Spain.
The final premier class test of the 2014 MotoGP preseason concluded on Sunday night at the floodlit desert circuit of Qatar, with Aleix Espargaro the fastest rider in attendance – just ahead of his younger brother Pol who suffered a collarbone break in a late evening crash.
Over the last few months, during the preparations for the new MotoGP World Championship campaign, the elder Espargaro sibling has been the standout performer of the testing period – showing the potential of his ‘Open’ entry Yamaha for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team.
GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista led day two of the MotoGP Qatar test, his best time of 1:55.194 putting him 0.314s ahead of his closest rival.
The Spanish rider, who was also on the pace last week in Sepang testing, worked with his team to overcome the front end problems he experienced at the desert circuit in 2013. He completed 55 laps on his Honda RC213V on Saturday and will aim to stay ahead of the pack on Sunday.