The 2022 campaign has been the strongest Espargaro has ever had in his grand prix racing career having taken his maiden MotoGP victory in April in Argentina.
Since then, he has scored four more podiums and has only finished outside of the top five twice in the first 11 races.
His title hopes took a knock in Barcelona when he miscalculated how many lapses he had left and celebrated too early, throwing away another podium opportunity. But a stunning recovery to fourth at Assen ahead of the summer break after being knocked off track by a crashing Fabio Quartararo means Espargaro is now just 21 points from the Yamaha rider in second in the standings.
Speaking ahead of the summer break last month, Espargaro says keeping the championship leader’s advantage under a race win margin of 25 points was his goal, but admits he has needed the five-week break to rest.
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“Sincerely, I’m very tired. I’m super, super exhausted,” Espargaro said when asked if he would have liked the season to have continued straight away after Assen to build on his momentum in the championship race.
“I need rest. Not five weeks, but especially mentally this year for me it’s completely different to other years, which I suppose is normal, I’m fighting for the title. But I was in the motorhome watching a film with my son and I was very tired.
“I went to sleep at 9pm, so I really need rest for my mind, to disconnect. Now I’m happy because I said I wanted to go on holiday with less than one race [gap in points to the leader] and I have 21 points. So, I will keep pushing Fabio.”
Espargaro comes into the second half of the season with his Aprilia future secured, after he agreed a new two-year deal back in May.
The 2022 MotoGP season continues on 7 August with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where last year Espargaro scored his first podium for Aprilia when he was third.