Aleix Espargaro, Andrea Iannone are over their Aprilia feud

Aleix Espargaro says he'd rather have Andrea Iannone on side if he is to challenge for the MotoGP podiums he believes the Aprilia RS-GP can win

Aleix Espargaro, Andrea Iannone - Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone have buried the hatchet ahead of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship after an argument over who had contributed to the development of the new Aprilia RS-GP.

Espargaro took exception to comments made by Iannone during the launch of the bike in Qatar last month that suggested the new RS-GP had been developed around his input.

The words struck a nerve with Espargaro, who said he found the comments to be disrespectful to the work both himself and test rider Bradley Smith had put in before declariong their relationship as over.

However, with racing on hold it seems the two riders have had a chance to patch up their differences with Espargaro saying he prefers to have a good working relationship with his team-mate in the quest to improve Aprilia’s flagging fortunes in MotoGP.

“I was sorry when Andrea said those things because I have always defended him, we had a good relationship,” he told Sky Sports Italia. “The next day I spoke to him, he explained to that he didn’t want to [speak it] that way, that we would talk about it again and I replied I am fine. I don’t want a negative relationship with my team-mate, it is important the climate in the garage is good.”

However, in slightly pointed comment that appears to assert his number one status in Aprilia, he suggests he needs Iannone on side to help him achieve the podium results he believes the new and improved RS-GP is capable of.

“My goal is not to destroy my team-mate. I feel I need Andrea to fight for the podium, because he is a strong rider who will hep me in developing the bike. It will help me to be faster and stronger.”

A big year awaits Aprilia… and Andrea Iannone

It’s a strange time to be Iannone at the moment with the results pending from his appeal for a drugs suspension that could well stop him from ever getting a chance to ride the RS-GP.

IF he does return, he’ll be playing catch up in a very competitive field on a machine that has shown good form during testing in Espargaro’s hands.

Either way, he is still one of the riders surely under most threat from losing his seat at the end of 2020, especially if the Aprilia does prove to be quick enough to pique the interest of some high profile riders such as Andrea Dovizioso. Unfortunately, he won’t have much time to get back up to speed depending on how long this racing hiatus goes on for.

As for Espargaro – certainly one of the most candidly outspoken MotoGP riders on the grid – he’s seemingly confident he has nothing to fear from Iannone, and those slightly passive aggressive words might end up being a red rag to a bull… for better or worse.