Aleix Espargaro struggled to put on a brave face ahead of Aprilia's home MotoGP event at Misano, revealing he had no new parts to try at the recent test and admitting the lack of progress is taking its toll on his 'energy'.

The Spaniard is also unsure exactly when he will try the 2020 RS-GP, for which major changes are planned, and hinted he could look elsewhere if the factory doesn't make progress next season.

Espargaro is currently 14th in the world championship, two places ahead of team-mate Andrea Iannone, but has only scored six points in the last six races.

The following is an edited version of Espargaro words to the media in the Misano paddock…

How was the test?

Aleix Espargaro: We used the two days to prepare for the race, we had nothing new to try at all. The only new things we tried were the new Michelin tyres.

Why were there no new parts?

Aleix Espargaro: Good question! I don’t know. I just arrived here [for the test] and everybody [else] was trying many things. My brother had five bikes in the [KTM] garage and also Yamaha and Ducati had a lot to new things to try. We had nothing to try so we used the two day test to try different geometry settings and finally we have a good base for the weekend. We will try to be as competitive as possible.

Did you ask why there was nothing new?

Aleix Espargaro: Yeah for sure I asked. But you have to ask the Aprilia bosses and the engineers. I have no answers. I mean, I'm just one more worker of this big group…

You are one of the most important workers…

Aleix Espargaro: Yeah I know it's supposed to be like this… Obviously, it was a little bit frustrating because everybody has a lot of new things to try and looking at our situation I was expecting also something like this. Because if someone needs to improve the bike more than the rest it's Aprilia. But, it was not the case. So I gave my best with the material I had at the test to be competitive but it was a limit. The second day I crashed two times trying to go over and I couldn't.

If you don't have a competitive bike in MotoGP in future would you consider changing to Superbike?

Aleix Espargaro: No, I will not race superbike, it's 99% sure. I really would like to be competitive with Aprilia, not with another brand. I know perfectly - and I don’t want this to sound stupid - but I feel that with a competitive bike I can be in the front, 100%.

I would really like to shine with Aprilia, I really, really would like this. But the races pass, the years pass and there's no reaction for the moment.

Looks like this year everything is changing a little bit and for next season… new engineers are coming, the team is changing quite a lot with the arrival of Massimo [Rivola], so I hope that next season everything will change.

But obviously my passion is getting in the limit, because it will be my fourth season with Aprilia. So we will see.

What do you know about next year's bike?

Aleix Espargaro: I spoke quite a lot with Romano [Albesiano] during the test… The engine will be quite different, or this is what it's supposed to be. Also the aerodynamics will change. I hope also the electronics, we also have to change quite a lot.

I hope the bike will be better than this season and that we can receive the bike as soon as possible because it looks like we are not getting anything new this year and the first test in Malaysia [2020] is not a long time. So I hope we will have something ready.

If test rider Bradley Smith goes back to KTM, how will that affect the Aprilia project?

Aleix Espargaro: I don’t know anything about that… but what does it mean if I'm not happy next year and move to a satellite team with a factory bike? It will change the project more than the test rider.

Obviously I've said from the beginning that I'm happy with Bradley's job, because he's fast and has a lot of experience, but in the end who achieves the results for the team are the factory riders. I think over the last three years the most important rider in Aprilia is me! So if I leave it's a bigger problem than the test rider.

Do you think Aprilia is now focussing on the 2020 bike instead of developing this year's bike?

Aleix Espargaro: But sometimes this can be a mistake because I'm not sure that we have to change 100% of the bike. We have to update the 2019 bike. So if you want to update the 2019 bike you can start to receive some parts to see how the bike is with the new engine, fairing, winglets or swingarm. I think that's more the normal way. I'm not saying best way or bad way, but normal way. But for the moment, nothing.

You're a positive person but is it hard to keep your motivation in this situation?

Aleix Espargaro: Sincerely, I'm really upset and it's difficult to maintain, not the positivity, because I am positive and this will never change in my life. But to still have energy to fight every time is more difficult, because the results are not arriving.

Silverstone, I was doing a normal race and the engine stops. We arrive in Misano with nothing new to try. So it's difficult. I'm a little upset, not angry, because I put a lot of effort, hope and expectation into this project three years ago.

I want to still believe we can do it but it's three years already and it's clear obviously that we are not at the level that Aprilia should be.

Everything now depends on next year's bike?

Aleix Espargaro: Yeah. I feel I can stay more in front in the MotoGP class and really would like that to be with Aprilia. I'd really like to see that the 2020 bike is good and to sign two more years to try to put that bike in the front. But obviously we have to wait to see the bike, because is not we have to see other options.

When will you first see the 2020 bike?

Aleix Espargaro: This is the million-dollar question! I hope that we can have it at least for Malaysia 1 [test].

 

Comments

Loading Comments...