"Couldn't Breathe" - The Unsolved Issue That Cost Three Aprilia Riders Their Race
Published: 30th October 2023
The Thailand Grand Prix turns into a battle against excessive heat for the Aprilia riders. A long-known problem is the root cause.
The Thailand Grand Prix proved to be a challenging race for Aprilia riders due to the excessive heat emitted by their RS-GPs.
Maverick Vinales was forced to retire close to the end of the race, stating, “I couldn’t finish the race. The bike was so hot. For two, three laps, I couldn’t breathe.”
His teammate, Aleix Espargaro, managed to finish fifth despite struggling with the extreme conditions.
Espargaro expressed the severity of the situation, saying, “Honestly, I couldn’t breathe anymore. It was the toughest race of my life.”
He revealed the team’s attempts to address the issue. “We tried a small hose there. But it didn’t help in warm-up.”
The team experimented with various solutions, including adding holes to the bike’s fairing, but none proved effective.
The Aprilia’s excessive heat problem is not new, persisting on specific tracks over the past four years. Despite their efforts, the Aprilia team remains puzzled about the root cause of the problem.
Looking ahead to the next race in Malaysia, both Vinales and Espargaro expressed concerns about the bike’s heat emissions. Vinales voiced his worry, stating, “We have to improve it. If not, I won’t finish in Sepang either.”
The team faces a race against time to find a solution before the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks, where similar hot and humid conditions are anticipated.
RNF Racing rider Raul Fernandez experienced breathing difficulties due to the intense heat as well. Post-race Aprilia compatriot Espargaro explained, “Raul [Fernandez] also told me that he could hardly breathe from the middle of the race onwards.”
“We don’t know why the bike is radiating such heat. It’s crazy. I can’t remember what it was like the last time I didn’t ride an Aprilia. That was seven years ago.”
“But Maverick came from Yamaha and Raul rode the KTM the previous year. He said he didn’t have a problem with heat the previous year. So it’s very strange.”