Aprilia: Our bike was the fastest in Qatar, Portimao, COTA…

Is the Aprilia RS-GP now the best bike in MotoGP?

Massimo Rivola, Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas, 14 April
Massimo Rivola, Maverick Vinales, MotoGP race, Grand Prix of the Americas,…

Is Ducati in danger of losing its crown as MotoGP’s most competitive bike to fellow Italian manufacturer Aprilia?

Of the six races so far this season, the score is currently an equal 3-3 in terms of race wins.

But Ducati has eight riders on the grid, while Aprilia only has four.

Momentum is certainly with the RS-GP, which has won three of the last four races in the hands of Maverick Vinales.

Speaking to TNT Sports after Vinales’ perfect double at COTA this weekend, including a charge from 11th to 1st in the Grand Prix, Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola said:

“To be honest, if we look deep into the numbers, in Qatar the fastest bike was the #41 [Aleix Espargaro]. If we look deep into the numbers, in Portimao the fastest bike was the #12 [Maverick Vinales]. Here, the fastest bike was the #12 again.”

After struggling to match Espargaro during winter testing and the opening round in Qatar, Vinales suddenly found the balance he had been seeking in Portimao.

“It’s true that, maybe, our bike is a proper racing bike. It’s not a production bike that always works [at every track]. We are all pushing the limit so much. Finding the right spot is not easy,” Rivola said.

“We are getting on the right way, especially with Maverick who is clearly in the right spot. Our job is to keep him there.”

Vinales’ run of wins was only broken by a gearbox problem in the Portimao GP, while on course for a safe podium, and Rivola confessed:

“Obviously, reliability was an issue in Portimao. But when you grow the performance so quickly in the past few years, maybe you have less time to be consistent with your reliability,” Rivola admitted.

“It is the price to pay.”

Rivola also revealed that Aprilia is working on a further update to its already impressive starting system.

“We will do another step later in the season. We know what we’re working on, and what can give us a benefit. But it takes time. It’s not a plug-and-play thing,” he said. “We need a big job from Lorenzo Savadori in the test team, and our suppliers, to do a quick job.”

Vinales is now third in the world championship, 24 points behind Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin and 3 from Ducati Lenovo’s Enea Bastianini.

However, Vinales outscored both of the leading Desmosedici riders by 17 points at COTA alone.

Espargaro, third in the Qatar Sprint and tipped as favourite for the grand prix before unexpected grip issues, is now 17 points behind Vinales, in seventh.

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