Espargaro to try Aprilia development 'lab bike' at Phillip Island

Aprilia MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro will try a "lab bike" in this weekend's Australian Grand Prix as part of the development work for the 2019 version of the RS-GP

Espargaro to try Aprilia development 'lab bike' at Phillip Island

Espargaro is 18th in the points with three races of his second season at Aprilia to go and has just two top-10 finishes to his name, which he scored at Le Mans and Aragon.

He said after the Thailand race earlier this month that he cannot tolerate another season like this one and that he could consider quitting if things do not improve.

With little left at stake in 2018, Espargaro has revealed that he will have one experimental bike with a new chassis at his disposal at Phillip Island, as well as one current-spec RS-GP.

"In Australia we will try a completely new bike, a 'lab bike', for 2019," said Espargaro, who retired from last Sunday's Japanese GP due to an overheating front tyre.

"[It is a] completely different bike, in many details. "We are trying to change the balance of the bike to put some more weight on the rear, to gain some grip, because this has been the problem this year.

"At the moment, it's a complete disaster, we are so slow.

"We have to completely change the bike to see if we can achieve some results and find some direction for the 2019 bike, because '19 is getting closer and we have to improve a lot."

When asked to clarify what he feels would be an acceptable level of improvement in 2019, Espargaro said if the team does not fight consistently inside the top 10 that would have to be deemed a failure for Aprilia.

"If you are out of the fight for the top 10 in a factory team with four or five years' experience, for me this is a disaster," said Espargaro.

"I understand new brands arriving in the championship need time, but [for] Aprilia next year it's year number five [it returned to MotoGP in 2015].

"So, anything outside of the top 10 is not good.

"If [next year] the bike is still not good and we are 17th in the championship again, and the problems are still there, then both parties have to sit down together and think about the project and many things."

While he rowed back on his previous threat to quit if things do not improve, Espargaro explained that he struggles to take his mind off racing at home when his results are so poor.

"I'm not thinking about stopping, but I cannot disconnect when I go home when the results are bad, and for me the most important thing in life is to be happy," he said.

"I've been many years in MotoGP, I have nothing else to show or prove to myself. I want to enjoy life, and there are many things I can do [outside of MotoGP].

"I want to stay here and enjoy, but many things have to change."

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About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Aleix Espargaro , Pol Espargaro
Teams Aprilia Racing Team
Author Jamie Klein
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