Motorcycles Espargaro: Not fair Aprilia fast in MotoGP after death Gresini
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Aleix Espargaro admits it’s “not fair” that Aprilia is showing the strongest MotoGP form it ever has so far in 2021 after the death of long-time team boss Fausto Gresini.
Double 125cc world champion and veteran team boss Gresini sadly died back in February after a two-month battle with COVID-19.
MotoGP has carried several tributes to the late Italian since, including a moment of silence ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, while Aprilia – whose factory entrant is run by Gresini Racing – carries its late team boss’ name on its RS-GPs.
Aprilia facing its "most important" year in MotoGP
Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola admits the 2021 season is the marque’s “most important” one given the freedom it has to develop its RS-GP compared to its rivals. © Aprilia Racing Massimo Rivola,Romano Albesiano, Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini As it is a concession manufacturer, Aprilia is one of only two manufacturers, after KTM, allowed to start the 2021 campaign with a completely new bike as COVID-19 cost-saving rules mean non-concession marques have to carry over their 2020 engines.
Ahead of last Sunday’s race in Portugal, MotoGP joined together with the Formula 1 paddock in Gresini’s hometown of Imola for a minute of silence.
Espargaro finished just 8.8 seconds from the win in Portimao, scoring just the sixth top six finish for Aprilia in MotoGP in sixth while holding that position in the championship.
He admits this turn of speed Aprilia is showing with its new RS-GP in 2021 is making him “angry” that is happening without Gresini there to share in the celebrations.
“I’m proud about what we are doing, I believe he is watching,” Espargaro said of Gresini.
“But I feel very sorry because it’s my fifth season here and why does it have to be the season that I’m fast like this without him?
“It’s not fair, I’d really love to see his face after I arrive to the garage after a race like this.
Espargaro: Honda and KTM MotoGP bikes “too different to compare”
Pol Espargaro admits the KTM he rode last year and his new Honda MotoGP bike are “too different to compare” following the first day of the Qatar pre-season test. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team Saturday’s first of five test days at Losail marked Espargaro’s debut on the RC213V, with the six-time MotoGP podium finisher completing 68 laps across the day having been one of the first to take to the track in the seven-hour session. Espargaro ended the day 1.
“Fausto believed a lot in my potential. I think one of the team managers that believed more in my talent from a long time ago.
“So now I’m fighting at the top with his bike and his project but he’s not here, it makes me a little bit angry.
“But anyway, I’m sure what we did for him between MotoGP and Formula 1 is just one more example of how big Fausto was, how important Fausto was.”
Espargaro says he thought he’d be closer to the podium in Portugal than he ended up, but suffered with a lack of grip in the hot temperatures.
Nevertheless, he is convinced “100%” that Aprilia will be on the podium in 2021.
“I think step by step, the season is very long,” he added.
“We’re P6 in the championship, I fight in the podium group in the three races more or less and this gives me a lot of confidence.
“Step by step I will be able to improve my confidence and fight for the podium.
“Sincerely after the warm-up I was quite sure I was able to fight for it, but I had no grip due to the track temperature and I spin a lot.
“Anyway, I’m happy overall with my performance. To go top six in MotoGP with Aprilia is something important, but I think Jerez we can be even closer.
“So, step by step this year we will be on the podium, 100%, we will not wait till next year.”
F1 and MotoGP to honour late Fausto Gresini on Sunday .
The Formula 1 and MotoGP paddock will come together this Sunday to observe a moment of silence for late team boss and two-time 125cc world champion Fausto Gresini. © Kevin Wood / Motorsport Images Fausto Gresini, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Veteran MotoGP team boss Gresini sadly died in February following a two-month battle with COVID-19. The Italian – who was 125cc motorcycle grand prix world champion in 1985 and 1987 – was a highly respected figure in the world of motorsport, with MotoGP observing a moment of silence during the Qatar Grand Prix weekend in March.