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MotoGP, Espargaró: Aprilia made my wishes come true

The Spaniard gives the new RS-GP passing marks: "My position in the saddle and the engine position have improved. I am half a second behind the leader without the new engine"

MotoGP: Espargaró: Aprilia made my wishes come true

In all the garages at the Sepang circuit, work is proceeding feverishly and the Aprilia camp is no exception. Aleix Espargaró went out on the track today with the new RS-GP, bringing home an eleventh place time just six tenths behind the leader. The Spaniard by now knows the bike from Noale very well, skilfully distinguishing its pros and cons. “The new bike is 70% the one we’ll have in Qatar - he explains - and I like our overall situation a lot, starting from my position in the saddle and the engine position. It is not a revolution, but an evolution and it is truly what I asked for last year, namely to be able to put more weight on the front in order to turn better once the brake is released. I used it for the whole day today and I felt like I could be more aggressive.”

However, one part that counts for quite a bit is still missing, namely the new engine.

“Right now we have the same engine as Valencia and I hope to have the new one for the tests in Qatar. Our top speed is not bad, but in acceleration we lose a lot and on tracks like this one or Qatar, that can be a big problem. In any case, the fact remains that in terms of top speed, we are losing 11km/h to Dovizioso, on average 5 or 6 to Honda and Yamaha, and I don’t think I can lose any more weight. It is a gap that is still too big, given the fact that in MotoGP these days everyone is very close.”

The Spanish rider’s analysis is detailed, even when he focuses strictly on coming out of corners.

“Coming out of turns is similar to last year and we just need more power. Last season we saw that over race distance we were very competitive, whereas when the other manufacturers focus on the single lap, we are far off. Rear grip has never been one of our problems; to the contrary, it is one of our strong points and I am pleased that the bike’s steps forward are in line with what I had asked for.”

In Aleix’s mind, there is also still room for chronological references, recorded on a track where, among other things, he did not race due to injury: “I think that with our time we will already be in the top six or seven of the race last year and I am two or three tenths faster than the tests last year. I am five tenths behind the leader on a track like this without the new engine. I can’t say that I am happy, but I am satisfied. We worked initially on preparing the first stage of the race, where last year I often struggled, whereas in the afternoon - number 41 continues - we tried to find speed on the flying lap, doing several laps under the two-minute mark.”

Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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