Espargaro: It’s unbelievable how much Aprilia turns, impossible to go wide

Despite chatter problems persisting during the Sepang MotoGP test, Aleix Espargaro calls the turning ability of the 2022 Aprilia RS-GP ‘unbelievable’.
Aleix Espargaro , Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February 2022
Aleix Espargaro , Sepang MotoGP test, 6 February 2022
© Gold and Goose Photography

Aleix Espargaro feels the 2022 Aprilia RS-GP is ‘impossible to go wide with in mid-corner’, despite encountering more chatter issues at the Sepang MotoGP test. 

Espargaro, who was one of two riders (Enea Bastianini) to break the unofficial Sepang lap record, finished the opening pre-season test second after topping day-one.

One of the big reasons for Espargaro’s relentless pace in Malaysia was the turning ability of the RS-GP22 which he called ‘crazy’. In fact, it’s the first year riding at Sepang where the Spaniard didn’t feel like he ran wide at a corner.

But despite the numerous positives which include the bike being more narrow and therefore more agile, slightly better top speed and chassis, Espargaro remained limited by a problem he’s come to expect at Sepang.

"It’s not just the bike being more narrow, also the chassis is different," added Espargaro. "From the first lap I did in this circuit, especially in the fast corner you could tell the bike fell into the corner. 

"This helps you a lot. But also, it creates a problem because the fast corner, the speed I’m able to carry is unbelievable, it’s crazy. So I get more chattering. 

"But I think it’s the first time I rode here in Malaysia without ever going wide. It’s impossible to go wide mid-corner. 

"You can carry as much speed as you want. It’s unbelievable how much the bike turns but I’m limited by the chattering. Even in our fast laps, Maverick [Vinales] and myself have to close the throttle a bit and enter into the corner slower to avoid the vibration, but not because I will go wide.

"But Malaysia is typically a track where chattering is more or less always there. Speaking a little bit with Maverick because the last time he was here he was with Yamaha, he said he had zero chattering. Here this year it was a little bit more of a shock for him."

Another area of concern for Espargaro is when the 2022 racing season begins and riding in a group situation.

The former Yamaha and Suzuki rider believes other bikes will use their advantage on the straights (namely Ducati, KTM and Honda) to cancel out his better cornering performance. 

Espargaro said: "Yes this is something I’m a little bit worried about. I don’t think we are in a great position because of my riding style; I’m very fast off the brakes, I can do very high speeds in the corner, but when you follow Ducati you cannot do this style. 

"Even behind a Honda or KTM you cannot. They stop you in the middle of the corner because their bikes are not turning like us and then they use the extra power they have in contrast with us. 

"So I’m forced to do more stop-and-go style. I’m not good at the stop-and-go riding style, but I think Aprilia is not good either. The Aprilia is not a bike to ride like this. 

"Maverick is a little bit better at this than me. He brakes a little bit earlier, a little bit less aggressive and then his acceleration is a little bit more clean. 

"But my style is to rush a lot in the corner but it’s going to be difficult to do this riding style. If I don’t start from pole position, then it’s going to be difficult."

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