Speaking in the latest edition of the Crash.net MotoGP podcast, former grand prix rider and British champion Huewen said:

“Aprilia have a motorbike that is really only second to Ducati at the moment for performance.

“They’ve got four bikes on the grid for this year, so they can have all the data they need. And the big deal for me is the man that really shook everybody up at the Valencia test; Miguel Oliveira.

“The first time he got out on the bike, he was right up there. Miguel Oliveira on the Aprilia could be the shock of 2023.

“I think [Oliveira] is going to have a brilliant year. He's in a satellite team, but I don't think the difference between full factory and satellite is that great anymore.

“Where it's going to be more difficult for satellite teams is perhaps the Sprint races, because they have less personnel to react and set-up the bikes quickly.

“But satellite teams [like RNF] are quite often using bikes from last year, which means they've got all the data already. So they’ll have a default setting to use straight away from FP1.”

‘Ducati have got to watch out’

When host Harry Benjamin asked Huewen and Crash.net MotoGP editor Pete McLaren to name the three things they are most looking forward to this season, Huewen again picked out the Noale manufacturer:

“Well, for me Aprilia. I can't believe I'm saying that because I think Aprilia dropped the ball a couple of years ago. They kept on promising they were going to have a faster bike and never seemed to quite get there.

“Then all of a sudden they hired Rivola, the Formula One guy, and I remember thinking at the time, ‘What? Really?’ But it worked!

“Bearing in mind they are a small factory, it was sort of herculean what they’ve done. Aprilia always had a great reputation from a racing point of view but funding, although it's owned by a massive group, has been an issue in the past.

“I think if they manage to keep the momentum going from 2022, Ducati have got to watch out.”

Download Episode 73 at the following links...