Aleix Espargaro 'can't wait' to see Dovizioso's reaction after riding Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro 'can't wait for Andrea Dovizioso to try the Aprilia in Jerez and see his reaction', believes the Italian 'can be a very good MotoGP test rider'.
Aleix Espargaro Qatar MotoGP test, 7 March 2021
Aleix Espargaro Qatar MotoGP test, 7 March 2021
© Gold and Goose Photography

Aleix Espargaro admits he can't wait to hear what Andrea Dovizioso thinks of the Aprilia RS-GP, during next month's Jerez test.

The triple title runner-up for Ducati is currently without a ride, but has agreed to a 'one off' outing with Aprilia at Jerez on April 12-14.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's season-opening Qatar MotoGP, an event Dovizioso won in 2018 and 2019, Espargaro said:

"I'm very happy because during these last years we made steps to get closer to the top bikes and Aprilia now made an important step which will be very helpful for the future because Andrea – apart from a very talented and fast rider – also I think he can be a very good test rider. Sensitive.

"He did a great job with Ducati because the last seasons he was winning races and fighting for the title. So he will be able to give us good feedback about the Aprilia and help us a lot.

"I can't wait for him to try the bike in Jerez and see his reaction. To see how he likes the bike and the weak points because I've been six years with this bike and he's fresh, new on the Aprilia. I'm sure he will give another point of view and he will help us a lot."

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News of the test has naturally fuelled speculation about a formal partnership developing between Dovizioso (who previously turned down the RS-GP race seat this year) and the Noale factory.

For now, all sides maintain that it's simply a one-off appearance, with Dovizioso having "gladly accepted the invitation to be able to ride a MotoGP bike again and to stay in form, giving the engineers my feedback."

"The days in Jerez will simply be a chance to get to know one another better," added Aprilia Racing boss Massimo Rivola. "It will not be a ‘trial matrimony’ but an opportunity to turn some laps together without any binding commitment for the future."

'Dovi will continue his MX campaign, Aprilia the world championship'

Dovizioso's manager Simone Battistella also insisted there was currently no strategy beyond the Jerez test, telling "The plan is simple. Just do this test. Dovi will continue his MX campaign and Aprilia the world championship."

But others have suggested that newly promoted race rider and MotoGP rookie Lorenzo Savadori should feel a little uneasy at Dovizioso's interest in trying the bike.

Again, Battistella rebuffed the speculation: "Savadori needs to worry about the rehab of his shoulder. Not about Dovi."

Savadori injured his shoulder in a training accident before the Qatar tests. Aprilia told that the Italian's condition is improving - and the shorter race weekend track schedule will help - but 'the bone edema is still there, even if smaller'.

Dovizioso elected not to pursue an official MotoGP testing deal for 2021, but still intends to return to the grid in 2022, if he has the option of competitive machinery. Aprilia meanwhile is currently without a test rider with Bradley Smith's future unclear since being overlooked for the race seat in favour of Savadori.

Espargaro was an encouraging sixth fastest on the new RS-GP during pre-season testing in Qatar. Sixth is also the factory's best MotoGP race result so far in the four-stroke era.

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