Aleix Espargaro: Aprilia should now switch MotoGP bike focus to '20

MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro admits his Aprilia team is unlikely to make a big step over the rest of the campaign and wants it to switch focus to 2020 already

Aleix Espargaro: Aprilia should now switch MotoGP bike focus to '20

Aprilia has significantly more points on the board than it had by this point in its disastrous 2018 season, but it remains last in the manufacturers' standings.

Espargaro, who has been part of the team since 2017, has repeatedly expressed his frustration over a lack of progress with the RS-GP bike.

He has now admitted he does not believe the team can make significant strides with this year's version.

"I don't know if we have to think about the rest of the season or [whether] to think more about preparing next season, because what we need is a lot more competitive bike, [with] a lot of improvements and I don't think we can do it this season," he said.

"So, the important thing is that we prepare that 2020 bike well. If we have to test some new items for the new bike during this season, it's going to be welcome, even if we lose time during the GPs.

"But what we want is to improve the bike a lot, not a little bit. So the 2020 RS-GP has to be a lot more competitive.

"I think [we should] use this year as a test year - I don't think that the thing [the 2019 bike] will change a lot during this season."

Test rider Bradley Smith had said in Barcelona that the test team's "main objective is working towards an early 2020 bike" and then "having the opportunity to make version two, version three, like our competitors".

Espargaro continued: "The important thing is to prepare the bike for the future, to not have again one year like this one.

"I don't want to be a test rider during the season, but sometimes you have to."

Espargaro says the off-season appointment of ex-Ferrari Formula 1 man Massimo Rivola as CEO provides him with some optimism for the future, even if he's far from happy with the current situation.

"I truly believe in Massimo and I think he can change the situation," Espargaro said. "For me sincerely it's not easy to be positive and to believe, because it's already [been] three very similar years here in Aprilia.

"But I have to say if I feel that if somebody can change this, it's Rivola. He's the best arrival we could have, so I will give him a little bit of time."

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