MotoGP

Aprilia big enough to spend and succeed in MotoGP, urges Espargaro

Aleix Espargaro has urged Aprilia parent firm Piaggio for more resource, saying it can afford to help it improve the fortunes of its beleagured MotoGP team

Aleix Espargaro firmly believes Aprilia has the resources and the funds to lift itself towards the front of the MotoGP field, with the Spaniard suggesting the manufacturer isn’t utilising its potential budget to assist its underwhelming racing effort.

The Italian firm returned to MotoGP in 2015 but success has been scant on the back of bikes that have only ever shown occasional flashes of speed and, in its current RS-GP guise suffers with persistent technical issues.

To date, Aprilia’s best finish in four and a half seasons of competition has been a sixth place and it has finished last in the manufacturers’ standings in each of those years. To put into context, Aprilia re-entered MotoGP the same season as Suzuki, which has gone on to win races, while it has been largely out-performed by big budget Red Bull KTM too.

No sign of fortune change for Aprilia without more financial fortune

Indeed, the struggling Aprilia project is one that has continued to mystify many, not least because of its impressive title-winning record in the World Superbike Championship and the older 125GP and 250GP feeder categories.

Espargaro, who is paired with team-mate Andrea Iannone, says something fundamental needs to change and has pointed the finger at Aprilia’s parent company Piaggio for not all that it could.

Indeed, the Spaniard believes making more funds available for the Aprilia Racing team and its Gresini Racing partners to work on building resource would make a sizeable difference to its fortunes and value.

“Really I don’t know the budget we have, or the budget Honda or Ducati has,” the Spaniard told our sister publication Crash.net. “The only thing I know is Piaggio is a very, very big group that can have the same – or more – money than our rivals so we have to decide what to do for next year.

“I think we’re big enough to spend what we want. But this is not in my hands; this is more related to Romano [Albesiano – team manager] and Massimo [Rivola – Aprilia Racing CEO].”

“It’s very important this second part of the season so we are able to improve the bike and understand exactly which direction we want to go next season. It’s quite easy to say, ‘We’re going to change completely the bike.’ But in which direction? What are the goals?

“This is important to understand. We have a test on Monday. We have a frame and a swingarm to try. I don’t think it will change my life but at least it will change my life. We will see.”

'Something different' coming for Aprilia in 2020

When quizzed on this Albesiano insists Aprilia will be more revolutionary with its 2020 machine in an effort to close the gap down to the front and break out of the mid-field it has become mired in.

“For sure for the future, we are planning something really different from what we have now. We have found the limit to our solution in many areas and we have decided this time to make a really big step for next season.”

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