MotoGP: Honda sign Aleix Espargaro as test rider for 2025

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Aleix Espargaro will become a test rider for Honda next year following his retirement from MotoGP at the end of the 2024 season.

Espargaro announced his retirement ahead of his home Grand Prix in Barcelona in May, bringing an end to an extensive career which has seen him compete in the premier class on a full-time basis since 2010.

The three-time Grand Prix race winner – and one-time sprint race winner – will join Stefan Bradl in the official HRC test team at a time where the Japanese giants are struggling to compete in MotoGP.

Honda Racing Corporation will bolster their testing program with the addition of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) as a Test Rider in 2025,” the official HRC statement said.

“With close to 250 premier class starts, the 34-year-old brings with him a wealth of experience on Grand Prix machinery as well as the pedigree of three victories and over 1,300 MotoGP™ points. He will join HRC stalwart Stefan Bradl in continuing the development of the Honda RC213V.”

Espargaro has led Aprilia’s MotoGP project since 2017 and has helped the Noale factory go from backmarkers to race winners, refusing to throw in the towel even during the darkest days onboard the RS-GP.

Prior to his time with Aprilia, Espargaro also helped Suzuki to launch their new MotoGP project in 2015, taking five top six finishes across two seasons. It’s now Honda which need to repeat the upward trajectory that Espargaro and Aprilia have enjoyed in the last few years.  

Despite positive comments from its riders during pre-season, Honda have, if anything, taken a step in the wrong direction this season. Joan Mir is the leading Honda rider in the championship, however he currently sits 18th overall with just 13 points. The 2020 world champion already has four DNFs and crashed out of Sunday’s Grand Prix race at Assen.

Meanwhile, new 2024 teammate Luca Marini has failed to score a single point in the opening eight rounds (16 races). The Italian made the brave decision to jump from race-winning Ducati machinery at the end of last season.

At LCR Honda, Johann Zarco has taken a best result of 12th on two occasions and is a point behind Mir in the championship. Teammate Takaaki Nakagami currently has eight points and a best result of 14th.