In Portimao, the drapes have come off from the Aprilia RS-GPs with which Aleix Espargarò and Maverick Vinales will line up at the start of the new championship. The big surprise of last season, in 2023 the Aprilia Racing team wants to continue its progress, confirming itself among the greats of MotoGP, with new additions to the factory team and a bike that has completely evolved from a technical point of view.
After exponential growth, which led it to conquer two pole positions, eight podiums and its first victory in the Top Class, the Noale-based company is starting the year with the declared objective of confirming its place in the fight for the World Championship and continue to mature, also thanks to the support of the RNF team, which adds the experience and data of Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez to the plate.
"Our growth is undeniable, as is how rapidly we improved. It is a path that did not come about by chance. We are a better company from every point of view, so I expect this trend to continue – declared the CEO of Aprilia Racing, Massimo Rivola - Our challenge will now increase with the further responsibility of a satellite team which, while on one hand will allow us to have much more information available, will also be an important test bench for our organisational and analytical ability. The winter break, which was actually one of the most labour intensive periods, was positive, as were the first tests, but only in the race will we be able to assess our level with respect to our rivals. We’ll be under more pressure and we are faced with a new format which implies new challenges for teams and riders, but we have prepared well and I believe that we’ll start the championship season with extremely high motivation. Goals? To do better than last year."
The Technical Director, Romano Albesiano, who is convinced of the quality of the project, commented on the work carried out on the RS-GP during the winter as follows: "We are rather convinced that we worked well during the winter break and the first tests have already provided some confirmation of this. The technical situation will be new for us, also having a second team to support and from which to be able to draw important information. The race weekends will also bring some changes, with the introduction of the Sprint Race which will demand a specific approach. Every detail of the new RS-GP is an evolution of the 2022 concept, with a numerical improvement of all the main aspects and the development programme anticipates further refinements throughout the season."
Fourth place in 2022 left more than one regret to the "captain" Aleix Espargarò, who in this new season will resume his quest for the world title, thanks to the experience gained in the championship and the perfect symbiosis he has established with the Veneto team.
"Being with Aprilia for such a long time puts a certain amount of pressure on me because I know how important results are for this company. At the same time, maturity and the fact that I know the people I work with well give me peace of mind – commented the Spanish rider - The 2023 championship season will begin with plenty of unknowns. The new format with the Sprint Race on Saturday will demand even more preparation of us riders but no one can truly assess the actual impact of this change yet. I have prepared to my best ability and I am confident that we will have fun again this year."
After a year of growth and apprenticeship astride the RS-GP, Maverick Vinales is also ready to give his all and achieve significant results for himself and for Aprilia.
"I learned a lot in 2022 about Aprilia and my team, but also about myself. In this new season, we’ll be able to put everything learned during this apprenticeship into practice. I liked the new RS-GP straight away. It has improved in aspects, such as early throttle opening management, which are fundamental for my riding style – he underlined - I like the new weekend format. It will be interesting both for the fans and for the teams which will have a chance to prepare for the Sunday race using the Sprint Race. I can't wait to get started. The break was refreshing, but now I just want to get back out on the track!"
Tester Lorenzo Savadori is also very much confirmed, and is preparing to take to the track for three wild cards, still being defined: "The new 2023 RS-GP 2023 has clearly grown, but I think there is still margin for improvement. Our goal is to continue testing new solutions. We have some interesting ideas to implement – declared the rider from Cesena - Physically, I am at 100% after recovering from various injuries so, as always, I will be ready to go. The biggest improvement of the new Aprilia? I’d say the engine. We made more than one step forward and I think that this will help us during the course of the season."