While the MotoGP paddock prepares for the final preseason test at Portimao, Aprilia lifted the covers on its 2023 RS-GP.
The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve was the venue of choice as Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales unveiled their 2023 charges, ahead of the final track action before the inaugural round.
The Noale factory stepped up to the mark in 2022, with Espargaro challenging across the season before settling for fourth in the riders standings while the factory claimed third in both the team and constructor championships.
One victory and five podiums for Aprilia’s ‘guiding light’ Espargaro added to three rostrum visits for Viñales proved the RS-GP was no longer just making up the numbers, with the duo aiming to run consistently at the front as the new season approaches.
“I feel more than ready,” Espargaro said from Portugal. “I train hard as every winter. I’m really motivated, really hungry to perform as I did last season. Obviously, is not going to be easy, this ‘23 because we have double races. Also the expectations are higher due our last season performance, so I can’t really wait. The first test with ‘23 bike was quite good. I can’t wait to go out on track with the new livery and see how far we can go.
“The team is working on an amazing way,” Viñales added. “We did good winter tests, especially in Sepang. We have been twice in the factory, talking with Romano [Albesiano], with all the guys trying to understand to develop the bike, and especially for me was very important last year to get used to it.
“This year, I feel the bike much more for myself, I feel much more at one with the bike - which is much easier for me to ride - and then with the new crew chief, Manu, and some other guys I think we complete a good circle.
“I think we have the motivation, we have the quality and also the speed to fight for the races and that’s the most important.
“For me the word of this year is that we need to ‘fight’ every weekend, every practice and until the end. I can wait to be on the bike. I can’t wait to be trying to improve a little bit more in those two days. When I finished in Sepang, I felt ready. I feel physically really good and I feel somehow with much more speed than last year.”