Aleix Espargaro: ‘I want a factory bike next year’

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 23 June 2014 09:36

Aleix Espargaro wants to take on younger brother Pol on an identical factory-backed Yamaha in 2015, despite the Spaniard emerging as a key target for Suzuki’s returning MotoGP squad.

The Spaniard is hoping his Forward Racing squad can secure the lease of a factory spec YZR-M1 like the version raced by Pol and British teammate Bradley Smith this season.

Such a move though seems highly unlikely given Yamaha’s long-term stance on the number of official entries it places on the grid.

Yamaha has never strayed from its strategy of fielding four factory spec bikes, though for 2014 it leased an engine and chassis package to Espargaro’s Forward Racing squad for the new Open class.

But Espargaro is determined to clinch a factory ride in 2015 and he told MCN: “We are in talks with a lot of teams but we are focused with my bike this year because the results are not what I want. If I am strong with this bike then I will have more chance to have an official bike. I would really like to have a factory Yamaha in Forward. Maybe Herve Poncharal (Tech 3 boss) would like to take one Open bike and one factory bike. I don’t think so but it is a chance. Maybe if Yamaha are happy with Forward and me they can give me the option of an M1 in Forward. One thing is clear, I want a factory bike next year and the first option for me is to stay with Yamaha.”

Suzuki is believed to be putting in a big effort to lure Espargaro onto its new 1000cc project and he admitted he was one of several riders to have negotiated with the Japanese factory.

He added: “Obviously Suzuki is a good option because it is a factory team but we will see what happens with them.”