Aleix Espargaro wants ‘more power’ as Ducati ‘are more competitive than us’

Aleix Espargaro says Aprilia need to find more if they want to challenge Ducati for the 2024 MotoGP title.

Aleix Espargaro, Qatar MotoGP test, 20 February
Aleix Espargaro, Qatar MotoGP test, 20 February

Like in Sepang Ducati dominated the timingsheets as MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia claimed top spot for the second test in succession.

Aleix Espargaro was the fastest non-Ducati rider, as was the case in Sepang, but when it came to time attack pace a sizable gap existed once again. 

“Not on another level but they are one step more competitive than us,” Espargaro told “On the time attack, if we want to fight with them we need a little bit more power.

“In terms of pace; I crashed on lap seven or eight of my race simulation but I have been very, very strong. 

“We can be closer on raceday. But you need to do a good qualifying but we are missing something. With extra grip we cannot really use it.”

Not for the lack of trying, Espargaro says he’s doing everything within his power to close the gap to Ducati.

The top eight included five Ducatis, as Espargaro (third), Raul Fernandez (fifth) and Maverick Vinales (sixth) provided the biggest challenge on day-two in Qatar.

“I’m trying everything during these days to be closer over one lap because I know it is very important,” added Espargaro.

“I felt like I was on the limit of the bike. In the race simulation I was able to do a couple of laps in the 1m 51s but I was able to go a lot faster with the soft tyre.

“With the medium tyre I’m happy and very fast but with the soft tyre we need to improve.”

Espargaro’s best time was well under the official lap record, but Bagnaia was over three tenths clear which is why Espargaro sees the world champion as the clear favourite.

Asked to predict who the rider to beat is, Espargaro said: “The world champion. This is why he has the number one on his fairing.

“Double time world champion and he looks strong. He’s looked strong since the beginning. He is the rider to beat.”

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