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MotoGP German GP

Espargaro: Aprilia's 2023 MotoGP form nothing to do with "bad luck"

Aleix Espargaro says Aprilia’s poor form in the 2023 MotoGP season has nothing to do with “bad luck” and is simply because the marque doesn’t “have the level” it needs.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aprilia has only scored 99 points from the first seven rounds of the 2023 season and has just one podium, courtesy of Maverick Vinales’ second at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

At the same stage in 2022, Aprilia had won a race and stood on the podium on three other occasions, with its points haul also standing at 99.

At the German Grand Prix last weekend, Espargaro was ninth in the sprint and out of the points in 16th in the main race after his gamble to run the soft rear tyre backfired.

Asked if Aprilia’s results not matching its pre-season expectations was purely down to bad luck, Espargaro replied: “No, not bad luck. There is no bad luck.

“In seven rounds, we don’t have the level. Ducati is on another planet. My bike, I said from the pre-season that I like my bike, but that bike is 3% or 4% different than 2022-spec from Miguel [Oliveira].

“And you see the RNF results, you see the factory results are not good.

“This is why we didn’t improve enough to match the level.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

“I didn’t expect Ducati to improve that much this year, but they did. Check the lap times of this year and last year’s race, I think it was 20 seconds faster. So, we don’t have the level.”

Espargaro battled a fractured foot from a cycling accident the weekend before in Italy but was diagnosed with rib fractures at the Sachsenring having experienced back pain.

“I have a lot of pain in my foot still, which is quite normal, but I also have a lot of pain in my back since [Saturday],” he added.

“So, I went to the Clinica Mobile after the warm-up and I have two small fractures… well, not that small, on the ninth and 10th ribs.

“We understand now that’s why I have this much pain. The doctors said it’s normal when they start to heal you feel pain.”

Team-mate Maverick Vinales was forced to retire from the German GP when the engine in his RS-GP expired.

The Spaniard says his team had to take more care going forward as the problem happened on a bike he had not been slow with all weekend, which was later found to have been caused by the engine.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I think it’s not bad luck,” Vinales told motogp.com after the race.

“It’s something that the engineers need to pay attention to. We have been struggling always with the same bike during the weekend, which always was the recommended bike to ride.

“I remember in FP1 I was P5, then in FP2 I crashed but I was able to go inside Q2.

“It’s something we must understand because it’s not normal that with one bike I can be fast and with the other I am very slow.

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“We did the race with the bike that I was slow on, but we didn’t notice until the engine blew up and they understood there was a problem with this engine.

“It’s a pity for me because I think these two tracks – Mugello and here - were good for me. Not being able to be in the front, it must have been something.”

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