I couldn’t choose another place other than Montmeló to announce what I had been considering for months: Aleix Espargaró is retiring from motorcycles at the end of the year. He will end 20 seasons in the World Championship, which he arrived in 2004, after being the youngest Spanish 125cc champion (CEV) in history. Aleix, the Capitano, at 34 years old, has said enough: he is getting off the motorcycle. 

“I still feel competitive, but my heart asks me to stop, take a step aside, and enjoy life from a calmer perspective,” commented the driver from Granollers in a packed press room at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in presence of his family – his wife, Laura, and his children, Mia and Max -, his brother Pol, his friend Purito Rodríguez, and half of the MotoGP grid, including Marc and Àlex Márquez, Álex Rins, or his greats friends Maverick Viñales and Jorge Martín.

“I am happy to announce my retirement as a full-time driver. “It has been 20 wonderful years in this paddock and I am very happy and very proud of what I have achieved with Aprilia,” commented the Granollers rider, who was moved to thank Laura, “the best I have,” and his brother. Pol, “my reference”. 

Aleix Espargaró will leave professional motorcycling after 20 years, after a career that he himself defined as “strange” and “extremely unstructured”, in which he has always made “many mistakes for choosing with the heart and not with the head.”

For Aleix, the moments of success came very late, at the age of 30, after going back and forth and not always choosing well. The 125cc motorcycles quickly became too small for his 1.80m height, his time on 250cc, four seasons, was without pain or glory, so in mid-2009 he got into MotoGP with a Ducati. His first World Cup podium did not come until 2011, when he dropped back to Moto2; his first pole, in 2014, with a Yamaha Forward in the Open subcategory. 

In 2015 he signed for Suzuki (he achieved the Japanese factory’s first pole in Montmeló) and became the leader in developing a motorcycle that would end up achieving victories. In 2017 he moved to Aprilia with the same objective, to turn Noale’s iron into a competitive machine. He did it: he achieved the first podium for the Italians (2021 in Silverstone), and his first victory in MotoGP in Argentina’21, his “best moment” in his two decades in the World Championship. In 2022 he came to fight for the title (he would finish 4th), for the first time in his career.

Although one of the best moments came again in Montmeló, his “garden, school and patio”, the place where he grew up: in 2023 he achieved a historic double, victories in Sprint and in the Sunday race.

Aleix Espargaró is currently 8th in the MotoGP World Championship with 51 points. His best result was 7th place in Austin. 

Marc Márquez, one of the riders who has had clashes on the track with Aleix, referred to the one from Granollers as one of the MotoGP benchmarks for his constructive capacity. “Even though he is a hot driver, he is reflective in the safety-commission. He is one of the veterans and will be missed.” The one from Cervera commented that “they are going to raffle him off as a test driver”, and he accepted Aleix’s retirement as something logical: “It seems very difficult to have such a long career. Life is like that, Aleix has made the decision, other times you have no other option. He has chosen that he will be better off at home.”