Aprilia has 'big margin' to improve – Massimo Rivola
New Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola says the Noale MotoGP outfit has a “big margin” to improve in 2019 if it can create “good” team work between the race and test teams.
Ex-Ferrari Formula 1 sporting director and Toro Rosso team manager, Rivola has been brought onboard at Aprilia as CEO, while Romano Albesiano will focus solely on his role as technical director.
Last season was Aprilia's fourth in succession since its comeback where it finished last in the manufacturers table, with the marque tallying up just three top 10 finishes all year.
Speaking to motogp.com, Rivola believes there is a “big margin” to improve the RS-GP in 2019, and says the “key” to success this year will be a strong “team environment”.
“I think Aleix [Espargaro] is a fighter and I like this kind of approach,” said Rivola.
“I think, what I ask of him, is to keep doing so, that's what he really needs to do. And regarding Andrea [Iannone]; Andrea for sure is a big talent.
“I think the experience he got in Ducati and Suzuki made him a better, more complete rider, more mature for sure and I expect him to be also a team working rider – someone who can lead the team together with Aleix.
“And, then, if we have a good team working, I think we have a big margin to improve.
“Bradley [Smith] also has a big, important task in front of him. We finally have a test team, a proper test team, an independent test team, and so it will be the key that his indications will match the indications of Andrea and Aleix.
“I will stress the fact that [strong] work in the team environment will be the key for this year.”
Rivola notes his target in his first season at Aprilia will be to “grow the bike”, and says the “motivation” that will come from growing the RS-GP will “make the difference”.
“For sure the target this season is to grow the bike,” he added.
“My personal target is to take off all the things that are not technical off of Romano Albesiano, who is a great technical director, to develop the bike and give him more time to concentrate on the performance.
“I'm quite sure if we start growing, the wheels will start running faster and the motivation of the whole company and so on will make the difference.”