Aprilia "just needs a little bit" for regular MotoGP podiums

Aleix Espargaro says the gains Aprilia has made with its 2021 MotoGP bike means it needs just “a little bit” more to fight for regular podiums for the first time.

Aprilia "just needs a little bit" for regular MotoGP podiums
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Aprilia is in the midst of its best-ever season in the modern MotoGP era with its 2021 RS-GP, the improved package allowing Espargaro to consistently score top six finishes and sit eighth in the standings after the first nine races with 61 points – 19 more than he scored across the entire 2020 campaign.

Espargaro led briefly at the Sachsenring, having scored Aprilia's first front row in the premier class since the 500cc days back in 2000, while the steps forward the marque has made with the RS-GP has started to attract big names.

Andrea Dovizioso decided to undertake a test programme with Aprilia earlier this year and was in frame for a ride in 2022, though now looks likely to lose out to Maverick Vinales as he gets set to quit Yamaha at the end of the year - though he admitted recently that his future is currently "at a standstill".

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Aprilia's main weakness remains a lack of top speed relative to its rivals, but being a concession manufacturer will allow Aprilia to bring a new engine in the second half of the season.

Espargaro believes the improvements to the bike means it is now "ready to receive more power" and is sure he will be get that before the year is out.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he was confident Aprilia will improve the engine this season, Espargaro said: "The good thing about Aprilia is after many years the engineers believe in me, believe in my job, everything I say to them.

"So, they really know that right now our limitation is the engine.

"The good thing is this year they bring me a bike that especially the base of the RS-GP 21, it's ready to receive more power.

"We are using the full power available, no more, the bike is not making any wheelie due to the new aerodynamics.

"Now we are ready and they know that the only thing we are missing is pure power in the straight when I'm full gas and everything is on the tyre, the full power is on the tyre, it's not enough to fight with our rivals.

"They know perfectly and they are working hard, so I'm sure I will not have to wait till [the] 2022 season to receive something.

"I hope I will have something new for the last part of the season because we are very, very close.

"Yes, I want to enjoy what we are achieving because we are doing a good job but I feel a bit of frustration inside. We just need a little bit to fight for the podium every single race."

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