Aprilia has 'no excuse' not to improve in 2019

Aprilia has 'no excuse' not to improve in 2019
By AutoSport

06/01/2019 at 14:16

Aprilia MotoGP boss Romano Albesiano says his team has "no excuse" not to do better in 2019, as Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith will join the team.

Aleix Espargaro was paired with rookie Sam Lowes and then Scott Redding over the previous two years, but next season Aprilia welcomes two new riders with factory experience in Iannone and new tester Smith.

Iannone spent two years each at Ducati and Suzuki, winning a race with the former and collecting a total of 11 podiums over the past four seasons.

Smith, also a MotoGP podium finisher, has arrived from KTM.

Following a frustrating season, Albesiano agreed that "something went not right" with the 2018 Aprilia bike, but is confident that the new arrivals give the manufacturer "all the ingredients" to make a step forward.

"We had different expectations for this season, especially after the end of the 2017, when we were constantly on the top 10 and close to top five," said Albesiano.

"Something honestly went not exactly right in the design of the new bike, we lost something on the balance of the bike and we struggled a lot.

"It was not clear from the beginning, the riders struggled a lot to understand what was necessary.

"[It was] nice to see Andrea [Iannone] did fantastic results [in 2018] and we know we have no excuse.

"I'm very excited, I know we have the potential and we have all the ingredients to make a good recipe for next year."

In addition to its moves on the rider market, Aprilia has added former Ferrari Formula 1 staff Massimo Rivola as CEO of its racing department.

Albesiano, who will continue to oversee the development of the Aprilia RS-GP, said that the bike was unique in the MotoGP field - and that it will be crucial for Iannone and Smith to compare it to their previous machines.

"For sure is very important for us to take these new riders because of the talent, and they bring us information, which is very important for a company like us.

"We have quite specific bike, the narrow V engine, we have a totally different balance of the bike.

"It's always important to compare the feeling of new riders that come from different bikes, let's say conventional bikes, to our bike.

"This is very important step for making the development of the bike."