Aleix Espargaro remains convinced the 2020 Aprilia RS-GP is a 'very good' bike, comparable with the Suzuki and KTM at Misano this weekend, but with one big exception; the acceleration of the engine.

The Spaniard warned that the current lack of acceleration means he is 'unable to fight', as the other bikes pull away on corner exit.

"The bike is very good. I’m happy with it and the set-up. I can stop the bike, have good corner speed and the traction is quite OK. But there is no engine at all," Espargaro said.

"It’s the slowest engine in the grid in terms of acceleration and on this track you accelerate many times. So I arrive very late in the braking and I can’t overtake them.

"I rode this morning with the Suzuki and in FP4 behind my brother [Pol, KTM] and the Aprilia is sincerely very, very good. It’s very easy for me to follow them in the corners but the acceleration is really poor.

"I don’t think the KTM is better than the Aprilia, but they just have a lot more power than us. Our bike is very, very good but we’re missing a lot of torque. A lot of torque."

Aprilia created an all-new 90-degree V engine design for 2020, but was forced to limit the RPM after technical issues at the Jerez season opener. The RPM has since been raised, but Espargaro said they are still not "running at the maximum available of the engine.

"But even if we use this engine at its maximum level it’s not enough. The power last year and two years ago was not enough in acceleration. The new engine configuration allows me to ride more easily, but I never have more power [than before]. If two years ago it was not enough, everybody has improved. Now it’s not enough x 3."

The special 'Covid' 2020 technical freeze on engine development (also covering Concession teams) is complicating matters and Espargaro said he has no news on when more performance might be available, adding: "I’m trying my best. I’m in good shape. The bike is working really, really good. But since we don’t receive more power, I don’t think we can fight with them."

The ultra-close nature of the Misano weekends means Espargaro has been trying to squeeze even more time from the high-risk areas where the RS-GP is strongest, but was caught out and fell in Qualifying 1 leaving him 16th on the grid.

"Everybody is very fast, almost on the limit in every single brake and acceleration because we know every metre of this track perfectly after the last six days of riding," Espargaro explained.

"This is why today we saw crashes. Today I tried to go under 1m '31 and I couldn’t. I was on '31 high and I crashed because I risked too much.

"In our case, it’s even worse because I try to recover on the brakes and the fast corners where I feel strong. But then you risk more than if you try to recover in other places.

"I watched the race two days ago and you guys can’t imagine how frustrating it is to see Pecco [Pramac Ducati] can overtake after corner 10 before corner 11. He’s just sitting on the bike and overtaking everybody there!

"He did a super race. I mean he’s very strong, BUT it’s super frustrating to see how they go away in acceleration and to see how quick he can gain two bikes’ difference between the rest.

"This is the reason why we can’t show our potential. I feel with many days riding in Misano we are very strong, very competitive, but we can’t show because we don’t have power."

Team-mate Bradley Smith, who also fell on Saturday, qualified in 19th.

 

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