Aleix Espargaro says that his high expectations of fighting for the MotoGP title from the start of 2023 ultimately led to his poor start to the term.

The Aprilia rider enjoyed a strong 2022 season that saw him break his and Aprilia’s premier class victory duck with a commanding performance in Argentina, Espargaro narrowly missing out on an overall championship podium at the death to Enea Bastianini.

His and Aprilia’s surge in form seen in ’22 led to Espargaro entering this year expecting to fight for a maiden championship from the outset, though this form ultimately never came to pass as he failed to finish higher than ninth in the opening three events – with his first rostrum result only coming just before the summer break at Assen.

Entering the British Grand Prix eighth in the standings, Espargaro was keen to stress after dominating practice two that he is taking a more relaxed approach across the second half of the year, having accepted that he put too much pressure on himself to perform in the first half of the season – the Spaniard still believing a top three championship result is possible this term.  

“At the beginning of this year my expectations were too high and I started the season just thinking about winning the title, which was a mistake because I made too many errors and I was never good enough,” explained Espargaro.

“I crashed in the race in Argentina, I crashed in America and lost a lot of points and if I started with a different approach today I could easily be within the top five of the championship.

“Today was good but I’m still relaxed and this is a long championship and if I don’t make any mistakes and I work as I did last year I can fight for the top three (in the standings.)”

Having led Friday running by a commanding 0.671s over Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin, Espargaro conceded he was surprised to have opened up such a huge gap on the timesheets to his competitors.

Espargaro remarked that he felt “good everywhere” with the RS-GP – partly as a result of aerodynamic revisions brought to Silverstone by the Noale-based marque.

“It’s very difficult today in MotoGP to be that much faster than the others, especially in a session where everybody threw three soft tyres at it,” added Espargaro.

“I felt good in the morning, and I was a bit relaxed because last year I made a big mistake – my second biggest of the season – so I didn’t want to overdo it, and with my first two sets of soft tyres I was too relaxed.

“We tried two new things from Aprilia, some aerodynamic things which have improved the stability of the bike which I’m really happy about.

 “When I came into the pit I could see that I could go a lot faster, and then with lap number three I put more (effort) in and I did a good lap.

“The last split was good, but I felt fast everywhere and felt good with the bike.”

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