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MotoGP Catalan GP

Espargaro’s ‘life passed before my eyes’ after historic home MotoGP win

Aleix Espargaro says he “saw my whole life passing in front of my eyes” as he celebrated a historic Aprilia 1-2 after his victory at the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Having won the sprint race on Saturday, Espargaro looked set to be beaten on Sunday by Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales after a mistake mid-race cost him a lot of time. 

As Vinales’ gap grew to over 1.3 seconds on lap 11 of 23, Espargaro only marginally chipped into this over the next few tours. 

But, as Vinales started to struggle with grip, Espargaro reeled him in. The 34-year-old took the lead on lap 20 and pulled away to score his second victory of the season and complete the double on home soil. 

Espargaro admits he “didn’t really enjoy” riding the bike in the grand prix as the windier conditions disturbed his riding.

“I would love to stop the world and enjoy the moment for a couple of moments,” he told motogp.com’s world feed.

“It has been amazing, especially because [the sprint] race was quite easy, let’s say. I felt very good on the bike. 

“Today [in the grand prix] I felt the opposite. I felt really bad, I didn’t really enjoy riding the bike with the wind blowing. I wasn’t really able to do my riding style.

“And Maverick was very, very fast. He pushed me to my limit. At any other circuit I would have finished second, but today I said ‘no way, crash or win’. I risked a lot. 

“There was a lot of tension. When I saw my kids on the podium giving me the trophy, I saw my whole life passing in front of my eyes. It was an unforgettable moment.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team, Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: MotoGP

Espargaro explained that the lap 11 mistake was a consequence of him trying to make up for another error that lost him half a second.  

“I did one mistake in corner one, and then trying to recover the half-second mistake, in corner three I nearly highsided,” he added. “And I lost double.

“After the incident I pushed like hell for two laps and I didn’t recover anything and I said to myself ‘you have to accept that he is faster today’.

“But then I said ‘Ok, he’s faster, if he’s going to win he’s going to sweat’. So I pushed like hell, like qualifying, I risked a lot and it paid off.”

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