Espargaro was one of the standout riders of the 2022 MotoGP season after managing to stay in the title race until the final few races.

However, like team-mate Maverick Vinales, Espargaro struggled to match the likes of world champion Francesco Bagnaia, Enea Bastianini and Fabio Quartararo when it mattered most. 

Technical issues hampered both riders which didn’t help, but nor did the lack of data with the RS-GP22 at circuits such as Motegi, Buriram and Phillip Island which all made a return to the calendar after being cancelled due to Covid-19 in the previous two seasons. 

One of the reasons Espargaro was so strong early on in the season was his ability to produce immediate pace at most circuits, something that was highlighted in Argentina when he took his maiden MotoGP win on a weekend where Friday practice was cancelled.

And given the reduced practice time that’s scheduled next season due to the new Sprint race format taking shape, Rivola feels less time to prepare for races could benefit Espargaro.

Rivola said: "I think that Aleix will start very strongly. Personally, I also think the new format will be good for him because you will have less time to prepare for the race.

"Aleix is ​​the type of rider who gets on the bike and is at 99 percent in a few laps. His limit is the limit of the bike. 

"I don't think it was a coincidence that he won in Argentina when the Grand Prix was held over two days."

While Espargaro took a lot of plaudits, and deservedly so, for Aprilia’s improved performance in 2022, Vinales was equally as impressive during the middle part of the season as he claimed podiums in Assen and Misano, whilst challenging Bagnaia for victory at Silverstone. 

The last few races on the other hand were a struggle as he failed to record a top five finish from Aragon onwards.

Yet, Rivola also has high expectations for Vinales, who is set to take part in his second full season with the Noale-based manufacturer in 2023. 

"Of course I have great expectations of him," added Rivola. "We saw his development and we saw how he suffered at the end of the season. 

"Doing so many races is not easy for a rider, physically but also mentally. So I'm excited to see what we can do with Maverick in 42 races.

"42 races mean a lot of effort, mentally it's a lot of effort. I don't think you can compare it to the Superbike World Championship. The MotoGP bikes are more difficult to ride."