Espargaro: Aprilia has bike it should have had in 2018
Aleix Espargaro says he feels Aprilia's 2019-spec MotoGP bike is what last year's model should have been after an encouraging Sepang pre-season test.
Espargaro joined Aprilia in 2017 and made a step backwards the following year, scoring 18 fewer points in 2018 than he managed the previous season and claiming that the team made a wrong turn development-wise.
However, he's been happy during the Sepang test ahead of the 2019 season, saying the new bike is more like the 2017 machinery and that Aprilia is now developing the bike the way it should have last year.
"The '18 bike was completely out of the way, don't really know still why we did that bike, but the '19 bike is the evolution of the '17, it goes on the [same] direction," explained Espargaro, who was seventh fastest in the test.
"I like [it], and this bike is the bike I was expecting last season. I feel great on the bike, especially my position, I can ride aggressively when I put new tyre and I ask to go on the limit.
"This means that I feel good on the bike. The first thing is to have a bike that allows you to be comfortable and from now on we can build something better.
"I am happy because we control really good the situation, I didn't relax since this morning, working, trying many different electronic package.
"Also yesterday [Thursday] we work with really used tyres with full tank to prepare the race simulation, we did a really good simulation, I was happy."
Espargaro said that the missing ingredient Aprilia still needs is a more powerful engine.
"The next step for me is to find more power, because we work a lot in the electronics package this weekend and in the nighttime we compare many data with Romano [Albesiano] about my riding style, my acceleration," he said.
"I think we have a really good chassis but when you see the top four guys with the Ducati, the strongest engine on the grid, it is clear, in MotoGP you need power.
"I think we have a good base and from here we have to find more power."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
Honda's front end still "critical", says Marquez
What we learned from Sepang MotoGP testing