Aleix: New MotoGP Concessions? ‘Hopefully they make a good proposal’

Aleix Espargaro doesn’t want Aprilia to be sucked back into MotoGP technical Concessions but is also ‘not against’ the rumoured changes to help struggling manufacturers Honda and Yamaha.
Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP race, Dutch MotoGP, 25 June
Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP race, Dutch MotoGP, 25 June

The Concession system has been redundant ever since Aprilia graduated to the same rules as other manufacturers last season, when Espargaro also made history with the RS-GP’s first and so far only MotoGP win.

Aprilia’s progression followed that of Ducati, Suzuki and KTM, which all benefited from technical perks until they reached a certain number of podiums.

The only current manufacturers not to have benefited from Concessions are the once-dominant Honda and Yamaha brands, which are now slumped at the bottom of the constructors’ standings.

Conscious of Suzuki’s sudden exit, Dorna is keen to revive the Concession system to ensure all manufacturers can remain competitive through the bike development. Especially in the new era of limited testing and Sprint races, which have cut practice time to a minimum.

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At present, a manufacturer must go a complete season without a single MotoGP podium to access Concessions the following year. Many feel that bar is set far too low and has already been exceeded by Honda and Yamaha.

Yamaha and Honda have each taken one podium in 2023, yet their top rider is only 9th (Fabio Quartararo) and 13th (Alex Rins) respectively in the world championship standings.

“We have big brands here spending millions of euros, so to balance the championship, I think, is understandable. It's OK,” said Espargaro. “But how to do it? It's difficult.

“I'm not against it. We [Aprilia] took profit from this and I think it's good. I mean, I want to see races with 3-4 different manufacturers fighting for the win like two years ago, or even last year.

“So I think it's good. But how to do it? It’s not easy. So hopefully they can make a good proposal.”

Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP, Dutch MotoGP, 23 June
Aleix Espargaro, MotoGP, Dutch MotoGP, 23 June

The current Concession package features more engine changes, exemption from the in-season engine design freeze and aerodynamic update limits, plus the opportunity for private testing with race riders.

The testing perk is likely to feature prominently in the revised package and Espargaro confirmed it had been valuable during his time at Aprilia.

“The Concessions help you quite a lot. I mean [having] the Test Team is OK. The Satellite team is also good. But if the factory riders can test things, if you have more updates during the season, the Concessions I think are a good idea,” Espargaro explained.

“But I don't want [Aprilia] to use it anymore. I want to win with the same weapons as the others.”

Unfortunately for Espargaro, Aprilia - like Suzuki and KTM before them - have suffered a performance slump in their first season out of Concessions.

The Spaniard is again the top RS-GP rider but only eighth in the world championship (with one podium) compared to second when the summer break began a year ago.

But Espargaro doesn’t believe the explanation is as simple as leaving Concessions.

“I don't think so. We’ve improved the reliability of the engine, there was just the problem that Maverick had [at Sachsenring],” he said.

“And in terms of maintaining performance of the engine [with less engine changes], in the past I remember when the engine arrived to 800ks it started to drop a lot of power.

“That’s not the case anymore. I raced many times this year and last year at close to 2000ks and the engine was still performing well.

“In terms of the testing, still Salvadori is testing a lot. So I don't think so.”

Aprilia is third in the constructors’ standings, which is also where they had finished in 2022 after heartbreak at the Valencia finale.

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