Aleix Espargaro Demands Solution - "Raul Had The Same Problem"
Aleix Espargaro’s Americas GP Race ended on the opening lap. The Spaniard falls victim to a well-known Aprilia problem.
After a messed up practice day in Austin, Aleix Espargaro started the race weekend with a slightly surprising fourth place in the sprint.
In the feature race, the Spaniard made a great start from sixth on the grid and was again in contention for podium positions from the first corner.
However, his race was doomed when the ride-height device on his factory Aprilia failed to unlock. Just like for Maverick Vinales in Germany 2022, there was nothing last year’s fourth placed could do.
Heading into Turn 11 the front of his bike simply hadn’t the necessary grip and the spectators saw the Spaniard slide into retirement.
After the race, Espargaro explained: “I was P3 in Turn 1, and when I accelerated I felt that the rear ride-height device stayed low.”
“I did all the first part of the track with the ride-height device low, and when I touched the throttle in Turn 12 with the bike low, I lost the front.”
💥 @AleixEspargaro also didn't make it to the end of the first lap!— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) April 16, 2023
He lost the front at Turn 12! 😢#AmericasGP 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/7mrKlE8It0
A Well-Known Aprilia Problem
Unfortunately, the ride height device problems aren’t new at Aprilia. Just during last year’s German Grand Prix, Maverick Vinales had to give up a possible podium finish after his ride height device failed.
And in Austin, too, there were problems on more than one Aprilia. As the TV images confirmed, Raul Fernandez, too, suffered a ride height device failure which forced the Spaniard to retire in Lap 6.
Team captain Espargaro demands a quick solution from his team: “It looks like Raul had the same problem. They [Aprilia] need to solve it.”
“It’s not the first time it happened to us… Normally it happens when it’s super hot, but on Sunday it didn’t happen, so we are not in control of when and how.”
What makes his frustration grow even bigger is that the mechanical failure saw a podium finish on the track Espargaro himself calls his “kyptonite” slip through his fingers.
“After all the difficulties that we have always found at COTA, this weekend I demonstrated a lot of potential,” the Spaniard said, surprised.
“If the crash had happened on a different track, I wouldn’t have been less angry, but it clearly would have been special for me to take a spot on the podium here because that was well within our potential.”