Aleix Espargaro says potential of RS-GP24 is ‘higher, has a lot more downforce’

Aleix Espargaro says he still needs to adapt to Aprilia’s new MotoGP bike, but that he’s feeling the improved downforce level in a big way.

Aleix Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February
Aleix Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP test, 7 February

Aprilia have not made headlines regarding lap times at the Sepang MotoGP test, but Aleix Espargaro believes Aprilia are stronger than last season.

Aprilia have brought a substantial amount of updates to their 2024 bike, including a brand new aero package.

That has resulted in Espargaro testing a lot of new parts, but on day-two the Spaniard made strides forward with how comfortable he felt on the new bike.

“I’m happy and satisfied today,” began Espargaro. “We found a good compromise. We tried different swingarms, aerodynamics on the side and I'm getting used to the bike.

“The level of this is higher and basically with the same settings, same geometry as the 2023 bike because we still didn’t have time to work on the geometry side.

“We dropped our lap times in terms of pace and one lap by half a second so it means this bike higher, the potential is higher.

“I still need to learn how to ride it because the aerodynamics are quite different but I like it.

“It helps me with corner speed and I have more stability. I still need to get used to it but the potential is high.”

Aprilia deployed an interesting tactic on day-two which saw Espargaro, team-mate Maverick Vinales and Miguel Oliveira all go out together and see how the new aero worked behind another rider.

But Espargaro admitted the new aero package was not made with heat in mind and that more work is needed for later in the season.

Espargaro said: Hot! Really hot [following other riders]. We didn’t really work in the winter on the 2024 aero to improve the heat.

“They are working because the heat will arrive for the second part of the championship. For the second homologation they need to improve and they know.

“It’s difficult to race like this in Thailand and India, but in Aprilia they asked us to do a long run to see together how the material and many things work.”

New bike ‘has a lot of downforce’

Aleix Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February
Aleix Espargaro, Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February

While the new upgrades from Aprilia have included a front wing adjustment, they have also introduced new aero to the rear of their bike.

And Espargaro says the changes have allowed him to be faster mid-corner.

“This bike has a lot of downforce,” said the Spaniard. “Not just the front wing but also on the rear part of the bike and the fairing.

“The entry to the corner is very different. Even though the chassis, swingarm and engine is almost like 2023, the feeling is very difficult and different.

“The way it works on the suspension makes it a different bike. Today we made a big step and it was enjoyable to ride the bike.

“My riding style is not stop and go, it is to be very fast mid-corner and with this high stability I enjoyed a lot riding the bike.”

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