Aleix Espargaro has set his sights on a ‘dream’ top five finish in the MotoGP world championship this season after the Spaniard was the major surprise package of winter testing.
Riding the new Forward Yamaha YZR-M1 Open class machine, the Spaniard has been the revelation in the off-season with top four finishes in both Sepang tests last month.
And he headed the timesheets at the end of a recent non-factory team test at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
With extra fuel and access to Bridgestone’s extra soft tyre, Espargaro has become the flag bearer for the new Open class and many are now tipping him as a podium dark horse at some tracks this year.
Espargaro too has pretty lofty ambitions after his brilliant pre-season campaign and he told MCN: “I feel really good and I have been happy with how things have been going. I am really positive because the results in testing have been good and I didn’t really expect to be at such a high level. The first day of Sepang 1 was a big surprise because I finished third or fourth and I was really close to the top guys and when I got back to the hotel that night I couldn’t even sleep. But after the first couple of days everything started to become more normal and I am really close to the top guys in all the tests. The bike is good and the potential of the package is very high, so my job is to try and stay as close as I can to the factory bikes. It is going to be almost impossible to beat the four official bikes from Yamaha and Honda. To finish fifth will also be almost impossible but my objective and my dream is to be the first rider after the four official guys. I know it is going to be really difficult but this is my target.”