Aggrieved Espargaro "needs" Iannone for Aprilia MotoGP podium push

Aleix Espargaro admits he 'needs' Aprilia team-mate Andrea Iannone if he is to challenge for MotoGP podiums, with tensions between the pair now diffused after their Qatar test fallout

Aggrieved Espargaro "needs" Iannone for Aprilia MotoGP podium push

Espargaro branded Iannone as "super disrespectful" for comments the Italian made during the official livery launch of the 2020 Aprilia prior to the Qatar test last month, in which Iannone claimed the overhauled bike had been made "following my instructions".

Afterwards, Espargaro said this incident was "the end of our good relationship", but has since held clear-the-air talks with the Italian and admits he needs him to "help me in the development of the bike".

"I was very sorry when Andrea said those things, I also felt bad because I always defended Andrea a lot, we have a good relationship and when I heard those things I didn't understand [why he said them]," Espargaro said to Sky Sports MotoGP.

"I talked to him the next day, he said he didn't want to say [what he said] that way, that I didn't understand it well and that we'll talk about it when we meet again on the track.

"I told him it's okay, that for me there was no problem.

"I also spoke with him on social media, I don't like having a negative relationship with my team-mate because it is very important that the atmosphere in the box is good.

My goal is not to destroy my team-mate, I want to fight for the podium and not necessarily be [just] beating my team-mate.

"I feel that for the podium, I need Andrea because he is a strong rider who will help me in the development of the bike.

"But above all it will help me to be faster, stronger.

"I sincerely hope to see him again in the first race, because also his situation is not easy."

Iannone is currently serving a suspension by MotoGP governing body - the FIM - for an anti-doping infringement, after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid last October.

On Wednesday, Iannone was handed an 18-month ban for the infringement - though was acquitted of intentional doping.

Espargaro enjoyed a strong pre-season on the new RS-GP, displaying encouraging race runs in the Sepang and Qatar tests.

Though he is wary of making predictions, he firmly believes Aprilia will be fighting for the top eight regularly having "struggled to be in the top 12" last year.

"It is very difficult to say [having] only [had] the tests, because you never know the true level of the [other] bikes," he added.

"But if we take the race pace that we had both in Malaysia and Qatar, we were very quiet among the first.

"In the race it changes a lot, but this bike took a giant step [on race pace].

"Last year we struggled to be in the top 12; this year we will fight for the top six, eight positions in many races."

shares
comments
MotoGP promoter Dorna helping teams pay wages amid COVID-19 hiatus
Previous article

MotoGP promoter Dorna helping teams pay wages amid COVID-19 hiatus

Next article

MotoGP's Iannone handed 18-month ban after positive steroid test

MotoGP's Iannone handed 18-month ban after positive steroid test
The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him Plus

The signs Quartararo’s 2022 MotoGP title is slipping away from him

Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former team-mate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider

MotoGP
Aug 8, 2022
Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time Plus

Why Marquez’s toughest MotoGP foe is stopping at the right time

On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy

MotoGP
Aug 6, 2022
Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge Plus

Why a Suzuki refugee feels he deserves MotoGP's toughest challenge

Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Autosport - he faces with his eyes wide open…

MotoGP
Jul 27, 2022
How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature Plus

How Formula 1 has driven MotoGP's changing nature

The hiring of technicians from Formula 1 has clearly contributed to a recent change in the MotoGP landscape, with the role of engineers gaining greater significance relative to the riders. Here's how this shift has come about

MotoGP
Jul 19, 2022
The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader Plus

The revolution behind Aprilia's rise from MotoGP tail-ender to pack-leader

Coinciding with the arrival of Massimo Rivola as head of its MotoGP division, Aprilia has undergone an internal revolution that has spurred it from occupying last place in the team standings to leading the table in the space of just two years. Those entrenched in the project reveal how the ex-Ferrari F1 chief has achieved the dramatic turnaround

MotoGP
Jul 15, 2022
The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP Plus

The battle Yamaha's wayward son is fighting to be fast again in MotoGP

Franco Morbidelli was long overdue a promotion to factory machinery when it finally came late last year, having finished runner-up in the 2020 standings on an old Yamaha package. But since then the Italian has been a shadow of his former self as he toils to adapt to the 2022 M1, and recognises that he needs to change his style to be quick on it

MotoGP
Jul 13, 2022
Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era Plus

Why Honda and Yamaha have been left behind in MotoGP's new era

The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. Key paddock figures explain why.

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2022
Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star? Plus

Who is Valentino Rossi’s newest MotoGP star?

Valentino Rossi’s protégés stole the show at Assen as Francesco Bagnaia stormed to victory to arrest a recent barren run. But it was the rider in second, on Bagnaia’s old bike, who had all eyes on him. Securing his and the VR46 team’s first MotoGP podium, Marco Bezzecchi has all the characteristics that made his mentor special

MotoGP
Jun 27, 2022