FIRST LOOK: Aprilia presents 2019 MotoGP livery

The 2019 MotoGP colours of Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone revealed on the eve of the Qatar test.
FIRST LOOK: Aprilia presents 2019 MotoGP livery

These are the latest Aprilia colours with which Aleix Espargaro and new team-mate Andrea Iannone will compete in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.

The livery was presented on the eve of the final pre-season test in Qatar, where three days of track action begins on Saturday afternoon.

Aprilia, the smallest of the six manufacturers in the premier-class, has narrowly lost out to newcomer KTM for last in the constructors' standings in the past two seasons but is adamant it can fight the other brands.

"It is no exaggeration to think of us as a ‘David’ against the giants of world motorcycle racing and I have no problem with this comparison since, in the end, David triumphed," said new Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola.


Major changes have been put in place for 2019 with Iannone and new test/wild-card rider Bradley Smith arriving, the appointment of Rivola and Romano Albesiano's role narrowing to that of technical director, plus design changes to try and regain the character of the 2017 RS-GP.

"The final part of last season and the winter tests were fundamental from a technical point of view," Albesiano said. "The arrival of Andrea and Bradley added new information to Aleix’s fundamental contribution, helping us to define the RS-GP’s line of evolution. This is a project that has come to fruition this season, with an overall improvement in every aspect.

"A lot of work was done on making it lighter. We made changes to the chassis architecture and electronics management, leaving room for further advancements that will be done constantly throughout the season.

"The reorganisation of the racing department and the reinforcement of the test team were two key factors in preparation over the winter, allowing us to streamline processes and have more precise data analysis. These are essential aspects in MotoGP these days."

Espargaro - who took a podium with Forward Yamaha in 2014 - has claimed a best of sixth (three-times) since joining Aprilia in 2017, matching the factory's best ever four-stroke MotoGP result.

But the Spaniard's championship position has been marred by technical problems, leaving him just 15th and 17th overall. However, after feeling lost for much of last season, Espargaro said that Aprilia regained direction at the end of the year and that the subsequent t2019 machine is a clear improvement.

"The first tests of this new season were extremely positive," Espargaro said. "I was fast, I feel at ease astride the 2019 RS-GP and I feel like I still have good margin for growth. From both a technical and a human point of view, I have one of the best teams of my career. We have a lot of work to do, but I cannot help being optimistic.

"With the arrival of Andrea, Bradley and Massimo, we are definitely stronger, so we will have no excuse."

Iannone arrives as a race winner at Ducati in 2016 and four-time podium finisher for Suzuki last season, but missed the final day of the Sepang test due to a jaw infection.

"We are faced with a big challenge. The match of Aprilia with an Italian rider always creates certain expectations, so it’s up to use to channel that into positive pressure," Iannone said. "I approached preparation for 2019 calmly. In this sport, teamwork is fundamental and get caught up being in a rush.

"We improved at every outing and, to be honest, I was surprised at how quickly the guys at Aprilia changed the project based on my requests between Jerez and Sepang. We need to keep going like this, improving step by step. The right feeling is there."


Smith, a double MotoGP podium finisher for Tech3 Yamaha before spending two years as a factory KTM racer, heads the revamped Aprilia test team and will make five wild-card appearances this season starting at the opening round in Qatar on March 10.

"I must say that the tests were rather interesting. In my new role as tester, I tried to be as analytical as possible and I was at the complete disposal of the team," Smith said. "The shakedown in Malaysia went rather well. I am pleased that Aleix was able to benefit from our work, finding a good feeling with the new RS-GP straight away.

"My goal is to continue working well with the Aprilia Test Team and to get close to Aleix and Andrea’s pace in the races where I’ll be riding. We have outstanding technical and human potential."