MotoGP News: Aprilia has requested exemption from 2020 engine freeze

Aprilia has requested an exemption from the engine freeze MotoGP has implemented this year in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Autosport has learned

MotoGP News: Aprilia has requested exemption from 2020 engine freeze

At the core of Aprilia's radically-revised 2020-spec RS-GP is an all-new 90-degree V4 similar to that used by Honda, Ducati and KTM, replacing the old 75-degree unit.

However, the Noale marque has been denied the chance to work on the new motor this season by last month's decision to ban all engine and aerodynamic development until the start of 2021 as a cost-saving measure amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.

In normal circumstances, concession squads Aprilia and KTM would have been able to update their engines throughout the year, but instead are set to have to stick to the specification of motor that was homologated in Qatar at the start of March.

However, Autosport has learned that Aprilia has asked the Grand Prix Commission to be allowed to continue work on its engine until the start of the delayed season, which is set to begin in late July with a pair of races at Jerez.

It's understood Aprilia wants to work on the reliability of its engine and not performance, having not been able to do long runs in the Qatar test due to teething issues with the new unit.

Why MotoGP's smallest manufacturer now belongs in the premier class

Honda and Ducati have both been granted exemptions to MotoGP's engine freeze rules in the past to be able to work on reliability.

As part of MotoGP's cost saving measures in light of the current coronavirus crisis, non-concession teams (Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, Yamaha) will have to start 2021 with their 2020 bikes.

Thereafter, normal development will be allowed - though this will mean no engine and aero development for those outfits, while KTM and Aprilia will be able to do so.

Despite worries over the reliability of its engine, Aprilia enjoyed a strong pre-season phase, with an impressive long run (which was shortened due to a technical issue) for Aleix Espargaro on the final day of the Sepang test turning heads.

Aprilia has endured a turbulent winter, as its second rider Andrea Iannone was handed a suspension for an anti-doping violation by MotoGP's governing body the FIM.

Though Iannone was cleared of intentionally ingesting the banned steroid and his defence of contamination from food stood, this was not enough to fully acquit him and he has since been handed an 18-month ban.

However, Iannone is contesting this, with Aprilia fully standing by him.

Iannone's lawyer expects a verdict will be reached prior to the season's tentative July start.

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