Aprilia Racing: Aleix Espargaro confident about fighting Ducati in 2023: “We are not that far from the top”

Last week in Portimao, everyone had a chance to see just how good 2023 is MotoGP The bikes are really in a race. Pre-season testing doesn’t always show the most accurate picture of how teams have developed over the winter break and you need some real race Read on to find out who took the biggest step forward. While it was no surprise to see Francesco Bagnaia win both races, the rest of the grid had a few surprises to offer. These included Aprilia bikes, which seemed to compete with the power of Ducatis. During the sprint, Miguel Oliveira showed good pace on the Aprilia RS-GP from last year, staying close to the front but a few late race mistakes robbed him of the podium. Even in the race, he moved to the front of the bunch but was sadly edged out by Marc Marquez. the other rider who was shining was Maverick VinalesTook second place in the race on Sunday.

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Confident Machine, Confident Riders

When I spoke to team owner Massimo Rivola, he said the bike has been improved in almost every aspect. they both had the same idea Aprilia Racing Riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales when I asked them some questions about their experiences after the first race. Both the riders felt that the new RS-GP is better than last year’s machine and that the team is headed in the right direction.

alex espargaro ride

The new Aprilia RS-GP is better than ever

“The Portimao podium has been a fantastic result and I am very proud of the work Aprilia is doing. Our bike is really complete and competitive. All the improvements we’ve made over the winter are allowing me to feel more comfortable with the bike, and that’s important because I can go harder and with more confidence. season opening race. Throughout the race, the RS-GP looked extremely stable and stable under him, which enabled him to cross the finish line in second place.
his partner, Alex Espargaro Was a bit more conservative in his assessment of the new machine, “The 2023 bike is not a revolution as compared to the old bike, but there are a lot of changes in every aspect. We are in only the second race of a very long championship and we still need a few more races to make the right assessment. To make sure the new bike is better than last year and has more potential than the 2022 (bike), we have to be able to develop it in the right way because we are not far from the top.

Vinesh is running for victory

Maverick winless takes P2 in Portimao

Maverick Winless finishes second in Portimao

Maverick attributed his great result to a few factors, saying, “We’re building confidence with the whole team, thanks to the improvements to the bike, but also thanks to Manuel Cazaux coming to the team, with whom I get along very well.” There is trust and confidence.” After the first race, Maverick is ahead of Alex in the championship standings and could possibly be the team’s leading man if he continues at this pace. May foster healthy competition, Maverick replied, “The relationship with Alix is ​​good, not only in the garage but also personally, and I think pushing each other will help us grow.”
Vinales was unable to overtake race winner Francesco Bagnaia, despite avoiding the chaos induced by Marc Marquez on the opening lap and not actually having a wrong foot. “In Sunday’s race, I tried to stay close to Bagnaia consistently, even when I dropped back to cool my tires and closed the gap again. I tried to keep the pressure on him until the end and We came very close, but it was good that he didn’t make any mistakes and didn’t give me any real openings to overtake.”

all eyes on alex

Alex Espargaro preparing to race

Alex Espargaro still hungry for victory

Argentina is an important race for Aprilia as it is the same track where the team and Álex Espargaro took their first race win in the premier class of MotoGP. Alex had a magical weekend in 2022 when he took the pole position and then went on to win the race. As a result, this time around, expectations should be high for the team and Alex to deliver the same result again. “This season we will have more pressure but at the same time I feel more confident than ever. I am hungry for results”, said Alex Espargaro. He also said, “The 2022 race was very unusual, everything was concentrated in two days and it will not be easy to repeat, but certainly the track in Argentina suits Aprilia well. But if we are to compete for the championship We have to make the RS-GP faster on all tracks if we want to fight.”
It is not just in Argentina but throughout the season where Alex will be expected to be at his best. He has been the team’s leading rider and has more experience with the bike, but this year he has found himself behind Vinales. More important, however, is the battle against fellow Italian manufacturer Ducati, which has a battalion of faster bikes on the grid. Aprilia has been able to build a machine that can challenge the Ducatis like no other bike on the grid and be a major threat to them. “The Portimao weekend confirmed that we are not that far away and my performance was even better than I expected but we still have to improve because we are not at that level yet”, said Alex.

Spicy Sprint

When asked about the new sprint format, both riders agreed that it was a fun spectacle for the fans, but they would like to see how things unfold as the season progresses. The sprint has been introduced to the weekend this year and takes the place of the fourth practice session. Alex said, “We can already say that the new format is difficult. It is very different and we will get used to it. Every single session is important in this season, there is only 20 minutes of free session on Saturday and the most important session (Qualifying) doesn’t give any points, but is fundamental to what you will be able to do in the race. The Spaniard also believes the team needs to completely change its approach for the weekend.

the challenge remains

Motorsports can be unpredictable and this can lead to some interesting turns of events. A glimpse of this was seen this Saturday during the qualifying session in Argentina. With rain falling on the track, teams had to install wet tires and find the right window to apply slicks. Things didn’t go too well for the factory Aprilia team, which meant that Maverick would start in P5 while Alex would return to P9. Both riders will have their work cut out for them, especially considering that the front row is cluttered with three Ducatis.

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