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MotoGP, Rivola admits: “I’d like to have an Italian rider, I dreamt of Bastianini”

“We have high expectations, but we know we don’t have the fastest bike, and we have to develop. It’s time to push marketing, and it pisses me off that we don’t have a big sponsor because we deserve it.”

MotoGP: Rivola admits: “I’d like to have an Italian rider, I dreamt of Bastianini”

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Massimo Rivola has never made it a mystery that the secret behind Aprilia’s performance was the growth the company in Noale achieved. Progress that has led the company to fight, on an almost stable basis, at the top of the MotoGP, greatly increasing its budget, compared to the time Rivola entered the team in 2019.

What we lack is a big sponsor, and that somewhat pisses me off. I ask our company, Piaggio, to cover different costs, and I’m happy that they continue to support us. It’s great motivation, but I have to find a big sponsor. I think we deserve it,” the CEO commented in an interview with Manuel Pecino. “A sponsorship is very different now from how it was in the past, when it was just a matter of sticking a sticker on the hull. Now, it’s a question of creating a business with the Piaggio Group, as we did, for example, with Castrol, which has become a technical partner. We need to find a sponsor like that. Unfortunately, Monster and Red Bull are already busy, but there are others that we're contemplating.”

Marketing, moreover, is just one of the driving forces in motorsports, as well as something the MotoGP should use to press on the accelerator, according to the manager: “I think Netflix has given a boost to the F1 that the show we did with Amazon has not given us, and I think Dorna must ask itself why. I saw them both, and I got an idea,” Rivola said. “I see that Dorna’s approach is to create a more marketing-oriented environment. People want to see the riders and get close to them. A job must be done for both those who are on site and those who watch the races from home because, if people on TV see the crowded stands, then they want to be there too. I think this is a time when we need to push more on promotion.

A first intervention in this sense has been given by the introduction of Sprint Races in 2023, which will allow riders to have more space for promotional activities on Sunday morning, thanks to the cancellation of the Moto3 and Moto2 warm-ups. 

I was in favor of entirely eliminating the warm-ups, because I think it’s a waste of time. Statistically speaking, it’s the session in which we fall the most. It should be a time for adjusting the set-up, but there are twenty degrees less on the asphalt, so you’re setting up a bike on a track that’s totally different from the one you’ll be racing on. I agree that, if there’s a problem, you can do two laps to check that everything works, but it shouldn’t be a session related to performance,Aprilia’s CEO said, convinced that this new program can benefit a rider like Espargaró. “I think Aleix will be competitive again and will start fast. Personally, I think the new format is good for him because you have less time to prepare, and Aleix is one who gets on the bike and, in a couple of laps, is already almost at the limit. I don’t think it was a coincidence that he won in Argentina, on a weekend that was only two days long.

If Aleix is called to reconfirm, Vinales will have to, once and for all, prove that he has found a solution with the RS-GP: “As for Maverick, I have very high expectations. We’ve seen progress on his part, but we’ve also seen him struggle at the end of the season,” Rivola admitted. “Having so many races for a rider isn’t easy, both from a physical and mental perspective. That’s why I’m curious to see what we’ll do with forty-two races. It’s a great effort from a mental viewpoint, and I don't think it’s comparable with what happens in the SBK, because the bikes are harder to ride. With two races, we should’ve had fewer appointments on the calendar. Maybe we only have one in Italy or Spain, because we have to travel the world, in order to expand the business. I’m very happy that we’ll be going to India and Indonesia, because that’s where the market can grow.

After the challenge this year, there are many expectations for the Noale constructor that, in 2023, while it lost its concessions, will be able to count on the help of its new satellite team and two promising riders like Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez.

I expect a lot from them. Personally, I think Miguel is a riders who could fight for the title, along with Aleix and Maverick. In an ideal world, after the RNF team, he should be continuing with us in the factory team. We’ll see what Aleix will do after these two years, but he could be a good replacement, “ Massimo said. “As for Raul, I’ve been wanting him on board for a while, because I think he’s really talented, and I don’t believe that he’s shown all his skills in the KTM. Considering his style, I think our bike might be better suited for him although, if you’re a talented rider, you should know how to adapt and he didn’t, but I’m still convinced he can do it. He’ll need some time and some pressure, because he’ll be a bit confused about his abilities, after his wonderful season in the Moto2 and the results of his first year in the MotoGP. We have high expectations, but we know that we don’t have the fastest bike on the grid, and we have to develop a lot.

They have all the ingredients they need to do well, although Rivola admits he still has a small desire to fulfill: “I'd very much like to have an Italian rider. It’s no  secret that I spoke with Enea two years ago, but he was dreaming of what he has achieved now,” the manager concluded. “I think there are still some Italians who could join us or the RNF team in the future. We’ll see next year.

 

Translated by Leila Myftija

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