2021 Aprilia “quite different” to ride – Espargaro

Aleix Espargaro says the 2021 Aprilia RS-GP doesn’t look like a revolution, but feels “quite different” to ride after topping the first day of the Qatar MotoGP pre-season test.

2021 Aprilia “quite different” to ride – Espargaro

Aprilia and KTM are the only manufacturer’s allowed to start 2021 with totally new motorcycles, with the former unveiling its redesigned RS-GP on Thursday.

Espargaro and team-mate Lorenzo Savadori have already been testing the bike since last November, with Espargaro completing a further 57 laps on Saturday in Qatar on his way to the top of the timesheets with a 1m54.687s.

When asked by Autosport to compare the 2020 and 2021 versions of the RS-GP, Espargaro explained: “Yes, the bike doesn’t look like a revolution but to ride it is quite different.

“Especially regarding the stability, we made a big step forward as the bike is a lot more stable and also the aerodynamic side they did a big, big job.

“The bike is completely different. In acceleration I feel that we made one improvement and the bike has a lot more downforce, so the bike is really physical, more than last season’s bike.

“But it is more stable so that allows me to accelerate better which is more than welcomed.

“We are paying a little bit on the top speed, so we still have to find the balance and we still have to understand the bike to see the strong points and the weak points.

“But the bike likes me quite a lot. It means we did a great job as when we had one of the slowest bikes [on the straight] but we are P1 with a very, very fast lap time on the first day.

“So, now we have to understand how we can improve and find a good balance.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aprilia’s top speed deficit was eye-opening on Saturday, with Espargaro 15km/h slower through the speed trap than the fastest Ducati of Jack Miller.

Admitting the current Aprilia is slower on a straight than the 2020 bike, Espargaro feels the deficit is exacerbated by the bike’s aerodynamics – which is a trade-off all manufacturers have to consider in modern MotoGP now.

“Sometimes it’s not just the engine, it’s a little bit complicated by the new MotoGP era from four or five years ago with the aerodynamics,” he added.

“Everything became more difficult. I have to say I’m accelerating better than ever, but the top speed clearly we have to improve.

“It’s very, very low. It’s lower than our top speed from last season, and we are losing 15km/h to the Ducati, so there is room to improve there.

“But as I say, the aerodynamics allow you to turn better or not, to accelerate more or less, and to make more or less top speed. So now we have to find the balance.

“Today I tried two different aerodynamic packages and we still have to understand, but obviously I would like to have better top speed.”

shares
comments

Related video

Aleix Espargaro tops opening day of Qatar MotoGP test for Aprilia

Previous article

Aleix Espargaro tops opening day of Qatar MotoGP test for Aprilia

Next article

Rossi: First Petronas SRT MotoGP laps were “strange”

Rossi: First Petronas SRT MotoGP laps were “strange”
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Qatar Testing
Drivers Aleix Espargaro
Teams Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Author Lewis Duncan
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Plus

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 Plus

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? Plus

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 Plus

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

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021, having stormed to victory at a venue where he last year 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 has revealed one key improvement compared to 2020

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

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 Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king'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 Plus

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
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Plus

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021