Espargaro 'shook hands' on Ducati 2015 MotoGP deal

Aleix Espargaro has revealed a deal to join Ducati for the 2015 MotoGP season was "practically done", before it ultimately retained Andrea Dovizioso

Espargaro 'shook hands' on Ducati 2015 MotoGP deal

Espargaro made his full-time MotoGP debut in 2010 with Pramac Ducati, before returning in 2012 with the Aspar team on its Aprilia CRT machine in 2012.

He moved to the Forward Racing Yamaha team for 2014, where he managed a podium in a wet Aragon Grand Prix, and eventually signed with Suzuki to spearhead the Japanese marque's return to the series in 2015.

However, in the Spanish MotoGP podcast, Espargaro revealed he had "shaken hands" with Ducati General Manager Gigi Dall'Igna "three weeks before" agreeing to join Suzuki to ride for the Italian marque.

"In the end, everything goes as it goes," Espargaro said.

"I had a very unstructured sports career at the beginning and when I came to MotoGP, I have always shown that I am a very hard-working rider.

"When I signed after the year with Forward Racing [2014], when I achieved [seventh] in the world with the Open bike, I signed with Suzuki.

"But I had shaken hands with Gigi Dall'Igna three weeks before to go to Ducati, it was practically all done, and in that time Dovizioso ended up staying."

Espargaro managed to finish 11th in 2015 on a woefully underpowered Suzuki, scoring pole position in Barcelona, but struggled with the switch from Bridgestone rubber to Michelin the following year.

He lost his place at Suzuki at the end of the year to Ducati outcast Andrea Iannone, moving to Aprilia for 2017 where he has remained since.

"So I went to Suzuki," he added.

"At that time, I had the opportunity to be in two of the most powerful factories in the championship and ended up in Suzuki.

"I had a good year with Suzuki and the second year the reality is that the change of tyres from Bridgestone to Michelin cost me a lot, but it is not an excuse, I was not up to it: Maverick [Vinales] won a grand prix [at Silverstone], he was much more competitive than me.

"I think I didn't have a bad year because I did a lot of top five and top six results, but I was not at Maverick's level, that's the reality."

shares
comments
MotoGP rules out prospect of two-race weekends to fill '20 schedule

Previous article

MotoGP rules out prospect of two-race weekends to fill '20 schedule

Next article

Manufacturers oppose Ducati's one-bike per rider cost-saving idea

Manufacturers oppose Ducati's one-bike per rider cost-saving idea
Load comments
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Plus

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Plus

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest Plus

How ‘El Diablo’ and ‘the Beast’ starred in MotoGP’s Misano contest

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino Grand Prix will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP’s present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia’s flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021
How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future Plus

How Ducati’s Aragon MotoGP win harks to its past and its future

Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis

MotoGP
Sep 13, 2021
Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble Plus

Why Dovizioso is more of a temporary fix than a Yamaha gamble

OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment

MotoGP
Sep 8, 2021
Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP Plus

Why the British GP was a triumph for MotoGP

OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade

MotoGP
Aug 30, 2021
Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home Plus

Why Silverstone should be regarded as MotoGP's rightful UK home

OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the circuit's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future

MotoGP
Aug 26, 2021
How MotoGP's record smasher is facing his toughest challenge Plus

How MotoGP's record smasher is facing his toughest challenge

The 2020 MotoGP season was an utterly enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if thought it the world championship was a poorer place without its biggest star Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape

MotoGP
Aug 23, 2021