Aprilia promises Espargaro bigger budget for 2019

Aprilia has pledged to put more resources into its MotoGP project for the 2019 season, according to Aleix Espargaro.

Espargaro was vocal last season about Aprilia needing to invest more if it was serious about succeeding in grand prix racing, and suggested earlier this year that the Italian marque needed to up its performance to keep him.

But despite a lacklustre start to the year that has yielded only 13 points in the opening five races, the Spaniard ended up signing a new contract through to the end of 2020.

Espargaro said that a discussion with Aprilia chief Romano Albesiano after he retired from the Jerez round earlier this month assured him that things will be different for next season.

“After Jerez I was very upset,” he recalled. “On Monday afternoon I called Romano, 24 hours after the race I was a bit more relaxed, I said, ‘I decided to stay, I have full confidence in you guys’.

“He was a little bit shocked after what happened in the race, next day he went to talk to the President of [parent company] Piaggio [Roberto Colaninno] and to Noale to organise [things] a bit differently.

“He called me back, and told me ‘for next season, we will be stronger: more budget, more engineers, we will be more ready’. They really believe in me as a rider so, I have to be positive.

“This season is obviously not going to be easy because we used so many engines in the first four races, but we have to be positive for the next two years.”

Asked if it would be a simple case of Aprilia upping its budget, Espargaro replied: “It’s not just about quantity of money, it’s about the way you use it; the way you organise.

“Romano knows we can improve, as I can improve as a rider as well. I give my full confidence to them and I think they have more budget and if they organise in a different way, we can improve.

“We must not forget, it’s not the first year of Aprilia, but we are still quite young. We don’t need more time, I want to be in front tomorrow, but [we take it] step-by-step.”

Although Espargaro has backed struggling teammate Scott Redding to retain his ride in 2019, it’s likely he will have a new partner at Aprilia next season, either Andrea Iannone or Danilo Petrucci.

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