Aleix favours evolution for 2019 Aprilia

'We didn't make an evolution of last year's bike. We made a completely new bike' – Aleix Espargaro, Valencia MotoGP.
Aleix favours evolution for 2019 Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro starts the final round of the MotoGP World championship holding the same 15th position as he finished in last year's standings

But he currently has only 44 points, compared with last year's total of 62 and the Spaniard has made no secret that he feels the RS-GP went in the wrong direction for this season.

"My feeling is that, when we finished last season, we didn't make an evolution of last year's bike. We made a completely new bike and the results are there [to be seen]," Espargaro said.

"So, for me, it was a mistake. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad [to make a revolution]. This championship is not easy. Look at how Yamaha struggled this season as well. This can happen.

"But for next year we have to be more careful when we build the 2019 bike. If we have something good, this winter it is better to do a small evolution than completely new things, because we saw the result this year."

He added: "I truly believe in the team, in the project leader and their guys, also the people in Noale, if not I would not have signed for two more years."

Espargaro admitted that a difficult season impacts on a rider's confidence, which can also be a factor when success or failure is measures by tenths of a second per lap.

"This is not only about the bike or rider, it's about a mix and when the bike and rider are one piece – it's like Marc showed this year. When he moves the bike, when he accelerates the body balance and everything - the Honda and Marquez is one piece right one.

"That is the clear example and obviously this year I had some problems with the bike and when you have to continue with the same problems, including problems with the engines at the beginning of the year, you get more down, down, down. It affects you a lot. I try to stay positive and maintain the strength but it's very difficult.

"This is also why we say when one good result arrives everything changes, but you are the same rider. The confidence in MotoGP, when we are talking about two or three tenths, is very important."

Helping Espargaro get over the difficult times has been becoming a father during the season.

"I was lucky that I've become a father this year because they gave me a lot of positive energy during a very difficult year. I'm a guy who cannot really disconnect when I'm home. If it's good, I'm happy and if not, I'm not all week until the next race.

"Apart from this also I had injuries, had to be operated on, I was in Germany in the hospital for ten days. Also my brother had a scary injury, so it has been in all respects, except [becoming father], a very difficult all year."

This year's disappointments, barring the sixth at Aragon, mean Espargaro would especially savour a strong result in this weekend's finale.

"If you did a good season one race would not change anything, but after my season one good race would change quite a lot. At least my feeling before I go for the holidays," he said.

"During the three races in Asia we improved a little bit, it was the first time of the season where I enjoyed riding. We collected a lot of data also with the different bike and I hope to finish this last race fighting for the top ten.

"It will not change my position in the classification but at least maybe we will approach the 2019 a little bit better."

Valencia will also be Espargaro's last race as team-mate to Scott Redding.

"Sincerely I have to say that I didn't expect Scott to be like he is, when Scott arrived I found a really different guy," Espargaro said. "Actually the guy that you can see in the social media or you can see in the TV – at least in my experience – is not the real Scott.

"The real Scott is really nice guy, relaxed. A good guy, very easy guy. We have good relations during this year and it's a shame because I know he did not enjoy anything this year and he struggled a lot.

"It's very difficult when you are not enjoying as myself this year. I think that he chose his future, he tried to just have fun and I hope he can have fun next year."

One of Redding's issues throughout his grand prix career has been size and Espargaro would back a combined rider-bike minimum weight.

"For me it's very important. For example with Dani [Pedrosa], the most clear example, he struggles a lot to move the bike but when he puts the bike straight he disappears," Espargaro said. "Scott, for example, struggled a lot more than me in acceleration, because I'm ten kilos lighter than him.

"So for me there has to be a limit. I know for the very small riders it will not be helpful, but for the tall riders - if I continue to lose weight I will be dead!"