Interview: Massimo Rivola, CEO of Aprilia Racing

Christopher Chaves Updated: March 07, 2024, 03:22 PM IST

Bike related:

Question: Aleix Espargaro - two third places in the test at Qatar. Pace looking good. Keeping up with the Ducati boys - Pecco, Bastianini, Martin. What are the expectations/ predictions for the 2024 season?

Massimo Rivola: "Aleix is in great shape; he immediately got a good feeling with the RS-GP24 right from the first test in Sepang. His performance and pace have been very good, in Qatar he consistently lapped in a competitive lap time, which is a good boost for him. I strongly believe that Aleix has the potential to make a difference".

Question: Are you satisfied with the consistent pace which is most likely the race pace of the 2024 RS-GP bikes coming out of the recent tests in Qatar?

Massimo Rivola: "We are never satisfied, but for sure the feeling is positive, especially after the Qatar Test, where we were fast and very consistent in pace. The lap times during the winter were good compared which clearly indicates that the potential of the RS-GP24 is growing. We are in a good position to take advantage of this".

Question: Aprilia's MotoGP bike for 2024 can run lines behind other bikes quite well but was seen running slightly wider than the Ducati bikes, and still look caught on acceleration. Is the 2024 RS-GP expected to do better at certain tracks or track sections in this year's calendar?

Massimo Rivola: "It's true that our bike still gives its best on fast corners, but we are improving also the "V shape" style. Everybody is doing a step forward, and we have done the same. When I analyse all our competitors, I see the new Ducatis quite fast, Yamaha and Honda have also improved, but I think they are still a bit behind for the moment. The big challenge would certainly be KTM. In the 2023 season, for example, we have seen Maverick delivering amazing performance, he also took the pole position in Valencia, which on paper is not one of our strongest tracks. Maybe the question mark is Buddh International Circuit because last year we were the ones who suffered the most due to the high temperatures".

Question: The aero package looks great and appears to be working well. Especially the new rear of the bike. But in the tests Maverick Vinales was seen riding with the rear section of the older bike. Is the rider more comfortable with the setup of last year's motorcycle?

Massimo Rivola: "The presence of the aero packages is increasing year by year, and it is continuously changing the riding style. So, it's difficult for the riders to get used to, and exploit the potential of the motorcycle in a short period. Maverick chose a different aero package, but it's one of the many configurations we can choose and more will come during the season".

Question: Why were there three 2024 bikes out on track while Raul Fernandez was running the 2023 bike during testing. He finished 5th in the last day. And still is a good half a second behind the pace of the front-runners. Still, this was confusing. Please explain the reason behind this?

Massimo Rivola: "Raúl is improving so much, I'm really impressed by him. As we know, he didn't test in Sepang due to a crash after two laps and was quite surprising in Qatar with the 23 bike. He was immediately very fast despite his physical condition. We start the season with three 24 spec machines, and we'll have the same spec machines from mid-season, luckily earlier".

Question: Over a second slower average compared to the other riders, Miguel Olivera looked to not have settled in really well the 2024 bike. Has the reason for this been identified?

Massimo Rivola: "The reason for Miguel's difficulties is that he is jumping from the 22 to the 24 bike. Since the RS-GP24 represents a step forward in terms of aerodynamic package compared to the 22 one, it's a bit more challenging to quickly find the right feeling. Therefore, I think he needs a few more mileage than the others".

Team related:

Question: Did the Aprilia factory team face any backlash in any form, from the MotoGP organisers once the RNF Aprilia satellite team's contract for 2024 went out the window?

Massimo Rivola: "Not at all. In fact Dorna gave us the big opportunity of TrackHouse Racing a new satellite team"

Question: Can you explain what, "repeated infractions and breaches of the Participation Agreement affecting the public image of MotoGP" exactly meant in this case?

Massimo Rivola: "Well I think this is a question for Dorna and not for us"

Question: Has the outcome of that entire ordeal made things strict for the new Trackhouse team?

Massimo Rivola: "We actually had to speed up the process during the winter break in order to provide Trackhouse Racing the 24 bikes for Miguel. Big challenge but we love to work with ambitious partners"


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