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Honda signs retiring Espargaro to expand MotoGP test team

Espargaro to move to Honda in test role following retirement from racing

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Honda has signed Aleix Espargaro as a test rider for the 2025 MotoGP season to assist with the development of the beleaguered RC213V.

As revealed by Motorsport.com last month, Espargaro will switch to the Japanese manufacturer in a test role at the end of his glittering racing career that has seen him score three wins and 11 podiums in the premier class so far.

Espargaro’s signing marks the expansion of Honda’s test team, with 2011 Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl continuing in his existing role next year.

“Honda Racing Corporation will bolster their testing program with the addition of Aleix Espargaro as a Test Rider in 2025,” HRC announced in a short statement.

“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.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Espargaro’s arrival is seen as a massive boost for Honda, which is going through a prolonged decline and is struggling to recover from its worst-ever phase in motorcycling racing.

The Tokyo-based marque, having lost eight-time world champion Marc Marquez in the fall, was expected to bounce back in MotoGP this year thanks to the introduction of a new concession system and a change of philosophy within the brand.

But despite making serious efforts in overhauling the RC213V, it is yet to achieve a single top 10 finish in a grand prix this season and sits at the bottom of the manufacturers’ table.

Honda will be hoping to tap into the experience of Espargaro, who is widely hailed for transforming Aprilia from a perennial backmarker into a multiple race-winner. 

The Spaniard’s insights and knowledge played a crucial role in Aprilia’s ascent near the front of the pack, as the Noale-based brand slowly worked on addressing the weaknesses of the RS-GP.

He announced his decision to leave Aprilia and retire from MotoGP at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year, while leaving the door open to take up a different role with a manufacturer.

It remains unclear if the 34-year-old will get to make any wildcard appearances in 2025 as part of his testing duties.

Espargaro and Bradl will play a supporting role for race riders Joan Mir and Luca Marini, with Honda expected to continue in MotoGP with the same line-up next year. Marini already has a contract for 2025, while Motorsport.com revealed last week that Mir has agreed a two-year contract through to the 2026 season.

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