Aprilia doesn’t need a satellite team, riders insist

Aprilia MotoGP riders Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding say they would prefer the Italian marque to continue without signing a satellite team for 2019.

Currently only Ducati, Honda and Yamaha have satellite teams, but Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has previously expressed his wish to see all six MotoGP manufacturers pairing up with a customer squad.

However, with Tech 3 switching to KTM for 2019 and Yamaha looking set to replace the French squad with Marc VDS next year, Suzuki and Aprilia are both likely to continue without a satellite operation.

Espargaro said that would be his preference, as he fears the input of more riders would likely prevent Aprilia from working in one direction.

“I really prefer from my point of view to stay like this [with no satellite team] because if we have all the resources in the factory team, working on the same direction, is easy,” said Espargaro.

“I think Aprilia is growing a lot. The bike is getting super-close to the Japanese bikes but we need a little bit more time.

“The ride is really competitive, I think Aprilia is more competitive than KTM and KTM will sell two bikes to a private team next season.

“Aprilia is ready as well but I really prefer to keep developing a little bit more the bike.”

Redding agreed that a satellite team wouldn’t be “ideal”, and said that he and Espargaro, who between them have experience on Ducati, Suzuki and Honda bikes, can drive Aprilia forward.

“I think for them, I don’t think it’s the ideal thing to do at this moment,” he said. “I think the best thing for Aprilia to do is to make those steps and focus on what they’re doing.

“They’ve hired two riders that have experience with the different machines, which is good.

“I can bring stuff to the table, Aleix for sure has brought stuff to the table, and we’re understanding the bike and getting closer to the front. You learn more, you see more.

“I think if they bring another team it’s going to be more stress, more time, and it’s going to delay the development for us guys.”

Aprilia has yet to confirm either of its current riders for 2019, and while Redding admits he is running out of time to prove he deserves to stay on, talks are already underway with Espargaro.

Although the Spaniard hinted he may have options elsewhere, he indicated he is ready to sign a new two-year deal with Aprilia.

“I always said that my priority is to stay with Aprilia but we are in talks,” said the Spaniard. “I would really like to solve my future as soon as possible, no later than Mugello.

“My priority, because I’ve never been more than two years in the same team, is to stay. I feel great with this group of people, I feel that I want to finish the job.”

Additional reporting by Lena Buffa

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