Will prior MotoGP testing knowledge at the resurfaced Misano circuit allow Aprilia to finally show the potential they believe exists within the 2020 RS-GP?

Aleix Espargaro certainly feels the team's back-to-back home races, starting this weekend, could be the 'right opportunity' to put all the pieces into place.

The Spaniard came into the season confident of immediately challenging the bike's previous MotoGP best finish of sixth, and perhaps even fighting for the podium, but has so far been left to settle for a peak of tenth place.

That's partly down to qualifying where, with the notable exception of fourth at Brno, Espargaro hasn't managed higher than 14th so far.

"The first races confirmed what I had expected after the winter tests, namely that the new RS-GP is a huge step forward for Aprilia," Espargaro said.

"That said, we still have not managed to fully exploit the potential we have available to us.

"On every weekend, there was some factor that led to results which do not accurately represent my feeling in the saddle.

"Misano, a track where our bike works well and where we have tested, could be the right opportunity to come full circle and aim for the positions we deserve."

Espargaro is currently 15th in the championship, three places ahead of team-mate Bradley Smith.

The Briton has a best race result of twelfth so far, but also feels private testing knowledge should help their cause this weekend

"The testing we did on this track could potentially give us a slight advantage," Smith said. "This is Aprilia’s home race and it is on a circuit where the RS-GP has historically performed well. I can’t wait to get back on the track.

"We have worked hard up to now trying to make up for the time we lost at the season start. We did well on our ‘homework’, but this is the time to take a step forward in terms of performance. The new project certainly has the potential to do it."

With KTM losing concessions following its pair of victories, Aprilia is the only MotoGP manufacturer able to conduct future private testing with race riders. 

 

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