“I’d rather make mistakes than apologize” – Interview with Espargaro

Even before becoming a surprise MotoGP title contender in 2022, Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro has always been one of the most controversial figures in the championship.

This is largely down to his outspokenness and honesty when addressing the media – a sincerity that often gets him in trouble given the way he wears his heart on his sleeve.

But, speaking exclusively to The Race as he headed into the five-week summer break just 21 points behind friend and rival Fabio Quartararo in the title chase, Espargaro put some of his newfound strength into 2022 about him saying what he feels rather than acting like someone he’s not both on and off the bike, even though on occasion he gets into trouble with antics too vigorous.

“I think it makes me happier,” he admitted of his lack of fear of speaking out both on and off the track.

“So that means maybe my career has been better because if you’re happy, everything is better.

“I have a feeling inside of me that I need to express what I feel.

“If I don’t express what I feel, I’m not good with myself. I’m not a hypocrite so I have to say what I feel.

“Sometimes it’s a mistake. When I blamed [Marc] Score for what he did [in their Jerez row earlier this year], it was a mistake. I have done several times in the past more than him, 10,000 times more than him, but at the right moment, at that moment, I felt that I had to say it, and I say it.

“I’m not afraid to make mistakes and then say, ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake,’ because that’s part of life.

“And people who never say anything never have to say, ‘Sorry, I made a mistake,’ but I’d rather make mistakes and then apologize.”

While there may be others who feel similar to him in terms of important issues such as driver safety, it’s fair to say that overall his occasional theatrics are a unique trait of Aleix Espargaro.

While it might make for some good television if there were a few more like him on the track each weekend, he’s also aware that not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve just like him.

“I will never say how they should act,” he insisted to his rivals.

“Everyone should act as they feel. If they don’t act the way they do, then it’s 100% wrong.

“Maybe they act like that because they are like that, but the feeling I have is that you can’t use a mask.

“You have to be yourself. And now my feeling is that we want to try to love everyone, and that’s impossible. Just like Rafa Nadal, and it’s impossible to be like him. So in the end you have to be as you are.

He might not want to tell his rivals how to conduct themselves, but Espargaro also has advice for the junior ranks in particular.

“It’s a problem we have,” said the 32-year-old, who is now in his 18th Grand Prix season and 12th in MotoGP.

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“I mean, often when I’m watching TV – for example, [David] I think Munoz was the rider who finished on the podium in Moto3 in Barcelona for the first time, his interview was very boring. “Yeah, happy, thanks to my team, thanks…”

“Relax. Say what you mean. Say thank you to your best friend, or tell your grandma or whatever you want to say. But if you look like you have to be super, super politically correct, life is very boring like that.

Espargaro believes his biggest mistake of 2022 so far – and possibly his entire career – was due to doing the exact opposite and not following his own advice to relax.

Coming into the Catalunya Grand Prix last month as a home hero, poleman and pre-race favourite, he erred by putting too much pressure on himself.

While the most dramatic element was losing a place on the podium because he thought the race had ended a lap before the checkered flag actually came out, he had already lost a chance to win at that moment – thanks, according to him, all the way. it was approaching the weekend.

“Barcelona was a very difficult weekend for me,” he admitted of his home run.

“I felt a lot, a lot, a lot of pressure because everyone was cheering me on, all the Catalans, the Spanish fans. Without Marc [Marquez]they were encouraging me and putting me in the lead, so it was a very demanding weekend.

“Maybe I was too focused, maybe I was too serious during the weekend. I said after pole position that I didn’t really enjoy qualifying. I didn’t like the qualifying and I took pole position.

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“In the race I also started too conservatively, trying to save tires to win.

“At another circuit, when Fabio attacks me in the first corner, I will attack him again, I will fight with him.

“But in Barcelona, ​​I was obsessed with winning, so I saved a lot of tires and then lost the race. In the end, second place was the best I could get.

“So Barcelona was proof that you have to relax a bit, you have to enjoy the moment more, and I was also, too focused. That’s why I didn’t even see the checkered flag, because I was too focused.

About Todd Wurtsbach

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