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MotoGP, Rivola: "Bezzecchi is a character like Rossi and Sic, but I got him for his talent."

Aprilia Racing's CEO speaks: 'changing both riders is a risk, but for Marco and Martin you have to accept it. Trackhouse? I would like both Fernandez and Oliveira to stay, but I am not the one to decide."

MotoGP: Rivola:

Massimo Rivola has the face of someone who has done a job that satisfies him. Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi are the pair he has staked his hopes on for Aprilia's future, after Aleix Espargarò's decision to retire and Maverick Vinales' decision to make a change of scenery and move to KTM. Now that the chips are down, the Aprilia Racing CEO can smile. "I am very happy, we have a couple of young talents that I think are really strong. Last year they were 2nd and 3rd in the championship and the hope is that they will do even better with us - he began - Changing both riders is never a wise choice, continuity pays, but in front of two such talents I think a small risk should be taken and accepted."

Why Bezzecchi specifically?
"Bez was the first rider I offered our seat to four years ago, when we were ... in the shit (laughs). He turned it down, but he did it with full knowledge of the facts. He already had a place in Moto2 with VR46 and was aiming to win the title. He knew that if he did well, he would have a clear path to move up to MotoGP with the team. I was sorry about his refusal, but I didn't resent it: one more year in Moto2 would have served him well."

This season, however, he is not standing out much....
"It is true that Marco is struggling more this year, but what he showed last season was an unmistakable sign of enormous talent. I had been impressed by his riding in the wet in Argentina, but especially what he had done in India, a track that no one knew. There are signs in a rider's career that make you jump at his talent, and these were it. Then he's a Vale-like character, Sic-like, they're great in MotoGP, we didn't get him because of that, but because he gives a lot of gas."

So you don't have any doubts about him?
"When a rider does so well in a season and then struggles, you wonder if he is not talented enough or if instead the problems come from other parts, not necessarily technical. For me the real Bez is the one from last year. I have a lot of confidence in him and his talent. He has a Latin character, like Aleix and Jorge, so we will have a very motivated box."

How did the deal come about?
"His manager had approached us at the beginning of the season. We waited first for Aleix's decision, then Mugello, after which we focused on sorting out the priorities and the second rider was one of them. It was a very natural process, Marco wanted to come to us, ride our bike, and that makes us so happy. For me it was a clear choice, the pieces fell into place quickly and we had the opportunity to have an Italian rider."

How do you see Bezzecchi on the Aprilia?
"On paper it seems to suit his riding style, because he has always been competitive on fast tracks. Logically we will have to get to know each other, we will need a minimum of adaptation, but we will give him as little as possible because we need results quickly (laughs)."

At the beginning of the years did you think you would change both riders?
"I didn't imagine that. I might have expected Aleix to retire, but I was hoping to continue with Maverick . The victory in Austin was also the achievement of a personal goal of mine, as well as a huge satisfaction. I didn't expect to change two riders, but the way the market has moved, I think Aprilia has done a great job."

Were you disappointed with Vinales' farewell?
"Riders are like that and it's right for them to do things in their best interest, it's up to us to make sure their best interest is us. I didn't feel betrayed, as I think he didn't after Jorge's signing was announced. Every rider follows his own instincts, especially someone like Maverick, we are good together with him, we know he can have huge peaks. Maybe he felt the time had come for a change, maybe he wants to win with 4 different bikes in MotoGP, I don't know, we respect his choice and we will try to maximize the results. I am willing to bet that we will see more of the Vinales of Austin between now and the end of the season. I hope our story together ends in the best possible way."

Now there's Trackhouse to sort out...
"I don't have much to say. The agreement is for them to decide, we will have our say, but Justin Marks and Davide Brivio will have the final say. I would like to continue with Miguel and Raul, I still believe in them, having continuity in that team would be important."

Let's start with Fernandez.
"am a big fan of Raul, I offered him a bike after his first race in Moto2. In MotoGP he has had ups and downs, but he has shown speed, we see it from the data more than you can from the races and results. I hope he continues with us."

Oliveira, on the other hand?
"The decision whether he will continue with us or not is in his hands and in Trackhouse's hands. I had personally wanted him in Aprilia, and I think he can still do some good results. Last year he was unlucky, he had a difficult season. This year the expectations were higher, but it is also true that the team had changed, then Davide started to introduce new ideas to improve it, it is a process, not something you can do with an overnight build."

With Espargarò and Vinales leaving, who will lead the development of the new bike in the coming months?
"We have to give credit to Savadori, who has been our tester for many years. It might seem that he is not so fast when he is doing wild cards, but it happens because he is our victim to experiment (laughs). So far we have always been going in the right direction. Maverick's riding style has given a boost to the development and certainly having a satellite team has taken us another step forward, plus soon Raul will also have the RS-GP 2024. We think the test team and engineers are doing a good job and we have confidence in them."

Speaking of engineers, could Matteo Flamigni follow Bezzecchi to Aprilia as chief engineer?
"We haven't talked about it yet, we focused first on the rider market, the engineer market will start very soon. We have to respect our and other teams, we will try to break as little balance as possible, unless a rider absolutely needs it."


Translated by Julian Thomas

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