Aprilia has 'all the ingredients' to make 2019 jump - Romano Albesiano
Aprilia MotoGP boss Romano Albesiano says the marque now has “all the ingredients” in place to make a big step forward in 2019 after a difficult 2018 MotoGP campaign.
Aprilia finished last in the manufacturers' standings for the fourth year in succession, and scored five fewer points in 2018, with 59, than it did the previous year, while Aleix Espargaro could only manage three top 10s compared with six he registered in 2017.
This was blamed by Albesiano on something “not exactly right” in the design process of the RS-GP leading to the bike losing the balance it had in 2017, while he admits it took the team too long to discover this.
“We had different expectations for this season for sure, especially after the end of 2017, where we were constantly in the top 10 and close to the top five,” Albesiano said when reviewing Aprilia's 2018 season.
“So, something honestly went not exactly right in the design of the bike. We lost something with the balance of the bike, and it was not clear from the beginning and the riders struggled a lot to understand what was necessary.
“Now we have found a new way of developing the bike. So we have found again the way of developing and balancing the bike.
“It's a pity because the technological development – engine wise, electronic-wise – has been great this season.
“Our engine is much stronger, more stable, much better anyway. So, let's see way we have now a clear idea of how to make the base for next season.”
Aprilia will gain Andrea Iannone from Suzuki as part of its race line-up along with Espargaro, while ex-KTM man Bradley Smith joins as a test rider, which Albesiano says will allow the team to make a “real step forward” in 2019.
“Of course, we'll get a fantastic talented rider from another manufacturer [in Iannone].
“So we are really happy, our test team will be much stronger next year, we'll get Bradley Smith. So I believe we will make a real step next year, there are all the conditions to do so.
“It's very important for us getting the first feeling from Andrea and Bradley, of course.
“We will continue with Aleix, so we do some development work now with Aleix, and then get feedback from the new riders.
“I'm very excited, I know we have the potential and we have all the ingredients for making a good result for next year.”
Behind the scenes, Aprilia has gained ex-Ferrari Formula 1 sporting director Massimo Rivola as CEO, while Albesiano scales down his managerial role within the team to technical director.