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Espargaro: KTM is beating Aprilia “with a worse bike” in MotoGP

Aleix Espargaro believes Aprilia’s MotoGP bike is “better” than the KTM, but couldn’t match it in the Spanish Grand Prix because “I cannot race like I want” on the RS-GP.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing

Aprilia Racing

The Spaniard qualified on pole for the sprint and grand prix at Jerez last weekend, but could only manage a best of fifth on Sunday having crashed in the Saturday contest.

Due to red flags, both races were started twice, but Espargaro failed to convert pole to the holeshot, dropping to fourth each time as the KTM duo of Brad Binder and Jack Miller vaulted into the lead.

Espargaro says his problems in the races at Jerez were down to his bike’s handling suffering while he was behind other riders, but genuinely believes “I have one of the best bikes out there”.

The one-time race winner’s frustrations are doubled by the fact that KTM managed a double podium in both races, Binder winning the sprint, with a bike he feels is worse than the Aprilia.

“I’m very disappointed, because once again the easy thing for me is to say the bike didn’t work today and the bike is not good,” he began.

“And it’s not true. I have one of the best bikes out there, I love my bike. It’s fantastic, I can be super-fast.

“I was the fastest one again on Friday with the lap times that I did, but once I’m in the mix – and in the end that’s where it counts – I cannot do my lines, I cannot race like I want.

“I lose the front every time I get closer [to the rider ahead], the bike is not turning, the front tyre is a disaster.

“We have to understand if the aerodynamics plants temperature and pressure on the front tyre.

“When someone crashed in front of me and I had some cool air, I did my fastest lap of the race. But it’s not about this; it’s about racing, it’s about overtaking, and my bike doesn’t allow me to do this.

“I want to say congratulations to KTM, the job they did is amazing. The riders, Jack and Brad, and the whole team, it’s crazy what they are doing.

“But my feeling is my bike is better than theirs, so that’s why I’m even more frustrated. Because they did this with a worse bike.

“But their bike allows them to be really aggressive in the race and the job they are doing is crazy. They understand the concept of the tyres, the way of racing in 2023 and they are better than us. But once again it’s about understanding all of this. My bike is really good alone, but it’s not about this.”

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing leads at the start

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing leads at the start

Photo by: Dorna

Espargaro believes without his poor starts he could have been in the mix for victory in the Spanish GP.

“It’s a big, big problem,” he said of the RS-GP’s starting ability.

“I cannot do better practices. The pole position is the best position I can do. Even like that, I did four starts and I lose four places in all of them.

“I tried starting with both feet on the ground, and with one foot on the ground. We increased the power of second gear and it was even worse because the bike wheelied.

“We have to improve the system. It’s a shame because I’m sure if today I didn’t lose the positions and I started the first laps in first or second, I could have fought for the victory or second place. But, once they overtook me it’s over for me.”

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