The clock continues to tick for Sam Lowes.
By the middle of this month, Aprilia will need to confirm him or let him go. And the British rider holds very few cards when it comes to convincing the Noale manufacturer to keep him.
A few figures.
From the season start until now, Sam has only finished one race inside the points zone, the French Grand Prix, in 14th place.
Lowes currently lies 24th in the standings, with only three riders behind him. A pity then that those riders, Guintoli, Kallio e Tsuda, were only wildcards.
TOO MANY CRASHES - Rather than the results per se, Aprilia is more worried about the repeated crashes, 16 since the start of the year.
It's not the number under the microscope. To draw a comparison, Marc Marquez has crashed 14 times, as has Bautista, while Aleix Espargarò and Crutchlow have fallen 12 times.
"I can teach a fast rider not to crash - said Kenny Roberts - but I can't teach a slow rider to be fast".
Sam Lowes' problem though it that he often crashes without going fast.
But what's the alternative for Aprilia?
Scott Redding's name has been mentioned, as has Stefan Bradl's, the German also in contact with the Marc VDS team.
"The truth is that right now we don't have an alternative plan - confirms Romano Albesiano wearing his best poker face - We'll wait and see". To know more, we spoke with Fausto Gresini, the other face of team Aprilia.
"The crashing problem is a real one - admits the Italian - it's a high number and doesn't include crashes suffered during testing. Every crash means pieces to be replaced, and I don't means in terms of cost, but production. It takes time to produce them, guys are busy doing that and as we're right in the middle of development, this slows us down".
It's not true though that Lowes is unable to give technical feedback.
A STRANGE WAY OF BRAKING - "In reality, his impressions coincide with those Aleix Espargarò - confesses Gresini - his problem right now is the riding. Sam brakes in a strange way, coming off the gas then downshifting and only braking at that point. In this way, he doesn't just waste time but he's also too attached to the engine. I don't know if this style comes from his Moto2 background, but I don't think so as other riders come to MotoGP from that category without having this problem".
In reality, it looks like Sam is really struggling to adapt to a bike that has no clutch, seeing as he was used to taking hold of that while braking to control the rear wheel while competing in Moto2.
But who could replace Lowes?
Gresini, though aware of the difficulty of finding a replacement, has a name in mind - Scott Redding.
"He's young, 24, but already an expert rider, having raced in MotoGP for four years. And I don't think he's slow. Consider that he doesn't have the same bike as Petrucci in Pramac and this, aside from the technical aspect, is also demotivating".
The clock is also ticking for Aprilia though. Scott Redding is looking around and, seeing as his manager is Michael Bartholemy, the same guy who manages the Honda Marc VDS team, there is a rumour that Scott may return to his former team. In response to those asking whether he'd be nervous about going back to a bike with which he didn't previously get on very well, Redding replied: "The same? It's a totally different bike now. As if it were a different brand altogether".