Here Is What Massimo Rivola Expects From Aleix Espargaró And Maverick Vinales For 2023
After a fascinating 2022 season, the signs at Aprilia are set for improvement in 2023. Aprilia Team Principal Massimo Rivola explains what is now expected from the factory riders.
The past season became a record-breaking year for Aprilia. Aleix Espargaró’s victory in Argentina secured the brand’s first MotoGP win in its long racing history.
Aprilia’s season finale was not it for Massimo Rivola – Image provided by Motorsport Images
Although the manufacturer from Noale ran out of steam towards the end of the season, the team can look forward to 2023.
Even without concessions, which carried Aprilia into 2022, the Italians will do everything they can to establish themselves at the top of MotoGP.
With Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Vinales, they probably have the best rider pairing next to Pecco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini on the factory Ducati.
Espargaró led the championship for a while last season, taking a fantastic six podium finishes throughout the year. In addition, there were three top three results by his teammate Vinales.
The atmosphere in the team is good, the riders understand each other and worked together again and again last season to improve over the course of a race weekend.
After the rather bitter season finale, the team wants to score big again at the beginning of the season – just like last year.
Aprilia team boss Massimo Rivola sees Aleix Espargaró in particular in a leading role.
“Aleix [Espargaró] will start very strongly. Personally, I think the new format will be good for him because there will be less time to prepare for the race.”
Big changes to the race weekend schedule are planned for 2023. For the first time, MotoGP will feature sprint races extending the season schedule to no fewer than 42 races.
Rivola sees an advantage here for his designated team captain Aleix Espargaró. He had already shown that he can cope well with shorter preparation times in Argentina this year.
The Argentine Grand Prix had to take place without the Friday practice session due to delays in logistics.
“Aleix [Espargaró] is the type of rider who gets on the bike and is at 99 percent in a few laps. His limit is the limit of the bike.”
“I don’t think it was a coincidence that he won in Argentina when the Grand Prix was held over just two days,” Rivola points out.
For many riders, the additional workload will be a challenge, thinks Rivola. He sees his protégé Maverick Vinales affected. According to the Italian, he suffered from mental strain, especially at the end of the season.
“We have seen his development and we have seen how he suffered at the end of the season. Doing so many races is not easy for a rider, from a physical point of view, but also from a mental point of view.”
“I’m excited to see what we can do with Maverick [Vinales] in 42 races.” He adds: “Of course, I have great expectations of him.”