“What rider wants to go to Aprilia if they don't improve reliability?"

Aprilia hit with "it is not the first time it has happened" warning

Maverick Vinales, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March
Maverick Vinales, MotoGP, Portuguese MotoGP, 22 March

Aprilia have been dealt a harsh reminder that they won’t be able to recruit a star rider unless the reliability of their bike improves.

Maverick Vinales was stung by the RS-GP at the Portuguese MotoGP when, on the final lap and with a podium finish in the bank, he was forced to retire with a gearbox problem.

A day earlier, Vinales had won the sprint race at Portimao to deliver a reminder of what he and Aprilia can achieve on a good day.

But the technical problem that reared its ugly head in the grand prix will be off-putting to potential big names in the rider market, warns veteran crew chief Ramon Forcada.

"It is not the first time it has happened", Forcada said to Jorge Lorenzo on their DURALAVITA podcast.

"You can always have a mechanical accident, the good thing is when the mechanical accident is the exception.

“When it is the norm, there is something else behind it.

“In the end, what happens?

“As it is the championship, with how important points are and finishing all the races... what rider is going to want to go to Aprilia if they don't improve reliability?”

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo is the big-name rider who has been most closely linked with a 2025 switch to Aprilia.

Maverick Vinales “doesn't know how lucky he was”

Forcada, in conversation with Lorenzo who won three MotoGP titles under his guidance, insisted that Aprilia’s problem in Portimao could have been worse.

"Maverick doesn't know how lucky he was,” Forcada said.

“Having your gearbox blocked is the worst thing you can do.

“It can happen, if a [part] breaks, the normal thing is that it blocks completely.

“And if it does, the fall is not what he had. It is much worse.

“If the second occurs in the change of grade... that's where it happens.

“It's a dark mess. All in all, he was lucky.”

Forcada has been the technical chief for Lorenzo, Alex Barros, Casey Stoner and Franco Morbidelli.

Last year, he was involved with Aprilia’s RNF satellite project as their MotoE manager.

He said about Aprilia’s reliability issues: "The bad thing is when this is the norm, that the bike breaks.

“They have had two types of breaks, especially last year they were overconfident when they took the satellite team, they thought they would arrive, and they didn't arrive."

He added: "When parts break on the official motorcycle, the problem is design.

“The mileage problem is easy to solve, you start doing more parts in the factory, and you do it.

“But if the problem is design, especially the gearbox...

“All riders fear a gearbox breakage.”

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