Aprilia proved pre-season form “not a joke” in Qatar

Aleix Espargaro says he proved in last Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix that Aprilia’s MotoGP pre-season form “was not a joke” and the team is “better than ever”.

Aprilia proved pre-season form “not a joke” in Qatar

Aprilia is one of only two manufacturers along with KTM that was allowed to start the 2021 MotoGP season with a new engine, with the marque’s RS-GP proving to be a step forward in all areas compared to its predecessor.

Espargaro qualified eighth and was able to run in the front group to claim seventh in the race, ending up just 5.9 seconds from the victory and bettering his top result of eighth from the entire 2020 season.

Asked by Motorsport.com what he learned about the new bike in the race, Espargaro said: “I’m happy. It’s been a solid race, we showed the pre-season was not a joke, that we are better than ever and we are able to fight with the top riders.

“Unfortunately, we still have to learn quite a lot of things, especially at the beginning of the race. With a full tank I suffered a little bit, so I lost quite a lot of ground.

“And then mid-race I was able to overtake a lot of riders and then with [Joan] Mir we arrived to the main group, but in the end I had no more front tyre. 

“But the general feeling is OK and I think for the next race we will be more ready.

“But in other years when I had the feeling [of this race], maybe I try to push more and try to get a top five, and it’s very easy to make a mistake.

“It’s just the first race, so this year it’s very important to achieve points every race and I think this is a good beginning.”

Read Also:

Espargaro was pleased with the stopping power of the RS-GP and how it accelerated, but admitted he didn’t have as much top end power even with a slipstream as he expected. 

“I can feel the bike has good potential on the brakes and good acceleration due to the downforce,” he added. 

“Unfortunately, in fifth, sixth gear I suffered more than I expected because I know when I’m alone I lose a lot of speed, but I thought that in the draft I would be able to stay with the bikes in front of me. 

“But it wasn’t like this, I lost a lot of time in the straight.

“So overall I think this bike is competitive and I did all race with no problems, the electronics worked quite good.

“The tyre, the fuel consumption has been very good. Everybody suffered and we were ok, so it’s just a very good start.”

shares
comments

Related video

Marini “nearly forgot” half-brother Rossi was on Qatar grid

Previous article

Marini “nearly forgot” half-brother Rossi was on Qatar grid

Next article

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Qatar GP
Author Lewis Duncan
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Prime

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so.

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Prime

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Prime

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Prime

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Prime

How Yamaha's rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021 after storming to victory at a venue five months earlier served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha's factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend did at least expose one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021