Fair or unnecessary honor? MotoGP retires No. 46 de Rossi at Mugello
Aprilia announced Thursday (26) the renewal of the contracts of Alex Espargaro and Maverick Vinales for two more seasons in MotoGP. After a few weeks of delay, Noel’s home took advantage of the home race to underline not only the permanence of what it calls the RS-GP project’s “captain”, but also the former Yamaha driver.
Alex, the current runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship, was the big surprise for the 2022 season. The Catalan took full advantage of the top-performing Italian model, but took a huge step forward in terms of performance.
Alex Espargaro gave Aprilia her first moto win (Photo: Aprilia)
However, it was not easy to solve the sequence in the team. Although it was normal for them to go together, the first conversations between Aprilia and Alex’s agent were not good, as the director considered that the offers were not enough. He wanted money worthy of a performance jump from the father of twins, Max and Mia.
Even recognizing the importance of Espargaró and evaluating the business, the Piaggio Group brand was not ready to increase the financial contribution to MotoGP and needed time to raise the necessary amount. Now, however, it was possible to reach an agreement.
Speaking to the press in Mugello, Massimo Rivola acknowledged the central role of Alex, whom he called “the Captain”. “He brought us here,” the former Formula 1 star declared.
“Everything well we do this season is the fruit of many components, and we certainly appreciate our designers and technicians led by Romano Albisiano, the overall growth of our racing division and, to a large extent, the synergy that Captain Alex has skillfully built with the bike and the team,” Rivola said. We set a continuity goal along those lines, with both Alex and Maverick, and I’m happy to confirm that continuity today. We still need to grow a lot and now we have the peace of mind to do so.”
However, Rivola emphasized that he does not think of any other pilot, as he sees the two as family members.
He emphasized, “I didn’t think of any other option. Alex helped build this ‘family’ with us and we consider the defector to be part of this family.”
The team’s technical director, Romano Alpsiano highlighted that keeping the same drivers is also important for the development of the prototype.
Albisiano defended “the importance of keeping the same drivers”. “The transition will be a tough challenge. I’m very happy and proud to continue working with Alex, it’s already a long story, and I’m sure we’ll reach the same level with Maverick.”
The 32-year-old also celebrated his stay at Noale and highlighted the great opportunity for the team in 2022, as it is Aprilia’s most competitive year in MotoGP.
He noted, “I am very happy. We have done a good job in the past six years. It will last eight years at the end of 2024.” “On the human side and on the technical side, it is very good to stay here. Now I can be calmer and more focused. We have a great opportunity ahead of us this year,” he stressed.
“People said it was the end of my career when I left Suzuki and came to Aprilia. They said the same thing about the Maverick when he came from Yamaha. But we got here in the world championship leadership for the team,” he said.
After seven stages, Aprilia has 131 points in the dispute between the two teams, six points behind Suzuki, the runner-up. In the Constructors feud, House Noale came third, behind only Ducati and Yamaha.
Newcomer to Aprilia, Maverick continues to strive for the same level of performance as his teammate, but was confident about the future.
“I am very happy to continue to progress and work here,” Viñales commented. He concluded, “It’s a confidence booster to be inside a top-tier factory with Aprilia and we’re growing strong. Once I joined the Aprilia family, I felt like I belonged.”
MotoGP returns to the track on May 29 for the Italian Grand Prix in Mugello, the eighth stage of the 2022 season. grand prize It accompanies all activities of the 2022 MotoGP World Championships.
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