Espargaro’s dream of becoming MotoGP champion took a big hit over the final few races of 2022 as the Spaniard scored just 18 points from the last five races.

The Aprilia rider, who was so often the main challenger to Fabio Quartararo, suffered several unfortunate incidents such as a technical fault on the formation lap in Motegi that reduced Espargaro to a pit lane start, while an engine issue resulted in him failing to finish the season-finale at Valencia.

This handed Enea Bastianini the chance to claim third in the MotoGP Standings, which he did after finishing the race in eighth.

But while the end to the season was very disappointing for both Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, the post-season test wasn’t much better from Espargaro’s viewpoint, despite lap times being quick for both riders.

Vinales finished second and Espargaro fifth, however, the latter was less than impressed at a lack of new parts being available, which he hopes is not the case during February’s pre-season test at Sepang.

"I can’t be happy. Our rivals had lots of new parts," added Espargaro. "We just had a slightly different swing-arm, but other than that nothing I haven’t already tried. 

"We’ll have to wait to get the rest we need. The engineers obviously have some work to do to prepare the 2023 prototype for Malaysia, but they have no indication regarding the material. 

"It’s true that there’s a lot of time between Malaysia and Portugal, almost a month to work, but we’ve lost a good window without new parts."

Aprilia were one of many teams to struggle when it came to matching Ducati for top speed throughout the 2022 season, but with a deficit of 10km/h or more, the Spaniard feels improving the engine is another area that’s a must for the Noale-based manufacturer.  

Espargaro continued: "We lose 10km/h to the Ducati and that’s a lot. It’s one of the main areas we need to improve." 

Despite fading in the latter stages of the season, Aprilia and Espargaro were one of the standout performers of the season and will be expected to fight for the title with more consistency in 2023.