Aprilia seem the most competitive they’ve ever been in MotoGP, but rider Aleix Espargaro says its frustrating to be within touching distance of podiums.

5.382 seconds was how close Aprilia got to winning the Doha Grand Prix, despite Espargaro coming in tenth. The best opening rounds for Aprilia in its Grand Prix history is a heart-warming story for the team that only recently lost co-owner Fausto Gresini to COVID-19.

Despite the pace of the RS-GP in 2021, Espargaro isn’t satisfied with ‘fast enough’, and wants to battle for podiums.

“It is been a frustrating race. I think I did a good job, everything I could, but as I think everybody saw on TV, I lost a lot of ground on the straight. The bike works super good, the tires also, but on the straight, it’s very difficult because every lap from mid-race I lost one position.”

“I tried to be aggressive, I overtook Zarco a couple of times and also Fabio but then on the straight, again I lose the position. So very difficult. Then in the last part of the race when the factory Ducatis started to drop, I felt I had more tire than them, but there was no way to overtake. So, I think sincerely today we deserved a lot more than 10th place.”

MotoGP moves onto the European continent in two weeks time though, something which Espargaro thinks might help the sweet-handling Aprilia.

“With the acceleration of the bike, the step we made from last season is unbelievable, but I think we are in a very similar level from our competitors, but on the straight, especially in 5th and 6th gear, we lose close to 20kms so it’s very difficult in a track like this to fight.”

Espargaro sits in 8th on the championship table after two rounds of the season.

Journalist, writing various articles for ASN. MotoGP specialist and ASN's resident motorsports history nerd. Can generally be found screaming at stupid strategy choices while watching the tv.