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MotoGP Australian GP

Espargaro: Aprilia pace was “embarrassing” in tough Australia MotoGP race

Aleix Espargaro says his pace on the Aprilia in last weekend’s MotoGP Australian Grand Prix was “embarrassing”, having battled rear grip issues to finish eighth.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aprilia enjoyed a strong Friday at Phillip Island, with its flowing nature and the generally good acceleration of the RS-GP helping Maverick Vinales to third overall on the timesheets.

Espargaro then qualified fourth for Saturday’s rescheduled grand prix, but couldn’t maintain this in the race, dropping to eighth at the chequered flag as Vinales struggled to 11th.

Both Aprilia riders struggled for rear traction, which Espargaro called “insane”.

“It was embarrassing today. We were not competitive,” Espargaro said after last Saturday’s race.

“We had a lot of spin. I never expected to arrive 10 seconds off the victory or the podium.

“The spin level we had this weekend was insane. I tried to manage the tyre.

“At the beginning I could go faster, sincerely, but I knew that I couldn’t make it to the finish line.

“So, I decided to start tyre saving, but even [with that] the last two laps [the drop] was dramatic.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Espargaro added that he doesn’t know why the Aprilia suffered so much with rear traction and noted “there was nothing I could do” to ride around the problem at Phillip Island. 

“11, 12, and two and six,” he added when asked what corners were the worst for him.

“These four corners, I don’t understand why we spin like this, I don’t understand this lack of grip with this tyre all weekend.

“With the soft I could go quite fast, but I’ve said many time there are many circuits on the calendar where the speed is not very important.

“The pure speed, but it’s more about the tyre saving, the managing.

“There was nothing I could do. I think it was impossible to go even half a second faster in the total time of the race with an Aprilia.”

It continued a largely difficult run of results in the overseas races for Espargaro, who was 10th in Indonesia, fifth in the wet in Japan and failed to finish in India due to a heat-induced mechanical issue.

He has also now slipped to sixth in the standings behind Johann Zarco by two points after the Pramac rider’s victory in Australia, while KTM’s Brad Binder is 39 points clear in fourth.

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