Aprilia "can only improve" after "destroying" 2017 strengths

Aleix Espargaro says the Aprilia MotoGP team can now "only improve" after "destroying" the positive points of the 2017-spec RS-GP.

Aprilia "can only improve" after "destroying" 2017 strengths

Twelve races into the 2018 season, Aprilia only has two top-10 finishes, the last of which came at Le Mans in May.

The Noale-based manufacturer brought out a new-spec engine, first tried in race conditions at Misano, but the team failed to show an improvement, with Espargaro and Scott Redding finishing 14th and 21st respectively.

Regarding future bike development, Espargaro is not worried about Aprilia making bad choices as he feels the RS-GP can't possibly become any weaker - feeling that the current bike is already worse than the 2017 version.

"For me, there's nothing we can lose," he said. "We are super-slow, the bike isn't working at all, we are not putting temperature in the front tyre, we are super-far from last season.

"Sincerely I'm not afraid. We can just go better. I'm super-slow this year and not competitive.

"Last year, for example, in Misano, in FP4 in the dry I finish sixth at 0.4s from pole position. This year it's impossible, I cannot stay even in the points, it's crazy, it's unbelievable how we destroyed last year's bike."

Espargaro explained that an attempt to fix last year's issue of excessive front tyre wear resulted in Aprilia creating even bigger problems at the rear of the bike.

He said: "Last year our problem was that we were sometimes in the second part of the race destroying the front tyre, never the rear, because too much temperature in the front.

"We changed a lot the balance of the bike, we move a lot the weight on the bike, and we did a mistake obviously.

"We are far from the right front temperature of the tyre. This year I'm able to run super-soft front tyres, we don't put more than 60 degrees, 58 degrees into the front tyre, and we are cooking the rear tyre, which is very strange.

"We have to rebalance the bike, the problem is that with the '18 bike we cannot come back as last year's bike."

Espargaro also doesn't believe the new Aprilia engine is a step forward compared to the old one.

"Doesn't convince me, sincerely, I don't like it," the Spaniard said. "I feel too much pushing into the first part of the corner, I can't stop it.

"And we're playing with the engine brake, the idea was to use more engine brake, but we cannot because as soon as I increase the engine brake I lock the rear tyre.

"It's like a circle that we're not improving, I feel that the brake's pushing more off brakes, instead of gaining turning we lose turning with the new engine, so it's even worse.

"Definitely for me, the new engine, not better."

Additional reporting by Lena Buffa

shares
comments
Abraham insists Avintia seat "not about money"

Previous article

Abraham insists Avintia seat "not about money"

Next article

Crutchlow needs "full support" to aid Marquez's Ducati battle

Crutchlow needs "full support" to aid Marquez's Ducati battle
Load comments
Why Quartararo’s suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP Prime

Why Quartararo’s suit penalty highlights a wider issue in MotoGP

OPINION: Fabio Quartararo racing with his leather suit open and subsequent penalty has been the main talking point of the Catalunya MotoGP weekend, which has highlighted a wider issue with MotoGP’s stewarding that risks a negative precedent going forward.

MotoGP
Jun 8, 2021
How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya Prime

How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya

The expectation on KTM to replicate its winning form from 2020 this season made its difficult start to the new MotoGP campaign even more disappointing. But a key update has seen KTM's fortunes reversed over the last week and returned it to the top step of the podium in Barcelona

MotoGP
Jun 7, 2021
The signs that point to Rossi's MotoGP retirement Prime

The signs that point to Rossi's MotoGP retirement

It's not been a happy start to 2021 for Valentino Rossi at the Petronas SRT satellite squad, with performances that are a shadow of the rider that utterly dominated MotoGP at the start of the new millennium. At the age of 42, how much longer can he go on?

MotoGP
May 19, 2021
Why the most significant Le Mans MotoGP performance wasn't Miller's Prime

Why the most significant Le Mans MotoGP performance wasn't Miller's

Hot on the heels of his first MotoGP win in five years, Jack Miller made it two from two with a commanding French Grand Prix victory at Le Mans despite two long-lap penalties. Impressive though it was, it was an expectation-defying performance from an anticipated title rival that was the real standout.

MotoGP
May 17, 2021
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Prime

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so.

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021