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MotoGP Americas GP

Espargaro “wants to forget everything” about Aprilia’s COTA MotoGP bike

Aleix Espargaro says he wants “to forget everything” about the Aprilia MotoGP bike he used during the Americas Grand Prix weekend as COTA is “not a normal track”.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing

The Argentina race winner went from qualifying on pole and scoring victory at Termas de Rio Hondo to qualifying 11th and finishing there in the Circuit of the Americas race the week after.  

Espargaro owned up to his crash in Q1 which hindered his weekend as he allowed traffic frustrations to boil over, but was expected to have a good race as his pace in the FP4 session was strong.  

However, Espargaro scrabbled for grip throughout the 20-lap COTA race and ended up down in 11th behind Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales.  

When asked if he was still able to learn anything about the RS-GP at COTA, Espargaro says he believes the bike is capable of fighting for the top five in the championship – but nothing done to the bike in America will be relevant going to the European phase of the season. 

“I know it will not sound like a very intelligent comment, but from the first lap of FP1 to the last lap [of the race] I want to forget everything,” he said.  “I want to remove the changes we applied to the bike and go to a normal track.  

“This track is not normal, the ups and downs, the bumps, it doesn’t suit our bike, it doesn’t suit ourselves and we are lucky it’s the only circuit in the calendar like this.  

“So, I think if I managed to finish 10 seconds [from the win] in 11th place at a very difficult place, it means that we have chances to fight for the top five of the championship and I can’t wait to go to Portimao and Jerez.” 

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing

Photo by: MotoGP

Espargaro says his grip woes in the COTA race were a result of him asking for his race tyre option to be put into its tyre warmer ahead of qualifying, as he was certain he’d progress from Q1 to Q2 and thus be given the extra soft rear from Michelin for doing so.  

But when he crashed in Q1, that tyre ended up getting disconnected from its warmer and he had to race with a pre-heated option – which doesn’t generate as much grip. 

“Sincerely, I made a big mistake [in qualifying],” he told Autosport when asked what caused his rear grip issues.  “When you go through Q1 to Q2, they give you an extra rear tyre.  

“So, I said to my guys one hour before qualifying to connect the race tyre to the heaters [tyre warmers] because I was sure I could go to the Q2.  

“I failed, I crashed, so they disconnected the tyre but they already warmed it and I felt always this.

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“I don’t like to go out with a pre-heated tyre.  

“This was my fault because it was my decision, not the team’s one and it was the first time that we did this ever and I will not repeat it because maybe this was the problem and was my fault.”

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