Aleix Espargaro is remaining optimistic amidst the current chaos at Termas de Rio Hondo but the Aprilia rider admits they are in for a tough MotoGP weekend.
With Friday cancelled, a frantic Saturday now awaits the premier class riders, with all free practice and qualifying sessions, bar one, set to run in the same day. Leaving little room for technical evolution, the riders will have two 45-minute sessions to prepare their machines, clean the unused track surface and stake their claim on Q2.
“My character is try to be always positive, even if sometimes it’s very difficult but trying to see always the positive part and I think that Saturday it’s going to be a lot of tension,” Espargaro admitted. “It’s going to be very difficult day for everybody.
“We will have to be very brave to prepare the bike for the race and at the same time, to be fast at one single lap so it’s going to be a big challenge.
“It’s a big disaster sincerely that this happens in our championship, but it is how it is. So I will try to prepare the best plan possible with my guys, my engineers, and try to have fun in a very, very, very big day for us.”
While the change in schedule is a one-off in Argentina due to the logistics delay in shipping the full cargo from Indonesia, the idea of a two-day schedule for MotoGP has been touted before. While some think it could be the answer to an ever-increasing calendar and ever-increasing budget, others are not in favour of a permanent switch.
“In reality, you can adapt to whatever they decide,” Espargaro admitted. “I mean, if they decide to do a two day weekend, we’re gonna have to adapt but with the technology that we have right now, with the amount of things we have to try, I think it’s very, very difficult.
“You cannot imagine how late, I don’t know the other teams but how late my engineers leave the track every Friday night. Sometimes they have meetings till eleven in the night on Fridays and at 7:30/8am Saturday they are again working so this means that we really need this time to work. If you concentrate everything in one single day, it’s going to be very difficult because they also need a lot of data from my side to prepare the bike, the fuel consumption, the tyres.
“I think in MotoGP today it’s very, very difficult to concentrate everything in two days. I mean, if it’s a special case, like this weekend, you do your best and that’s it, but to make it standard I think it’s difficult.”
One contentious issue facing the paddock is the decision to ban the front ride height devices from 2023. While Espargaro is in favour of the restrictions, he is also sympathetic to Ducati’s displeasure and believes the championship organisers needs to work harder to meet the level of ingenuity currently on show throughout pitlane.
“I will need a couple of minutes to really explain my point of view but to try to be quick, I think that it’s a good decision to ban it for ’23,” the Spaniards confirmed. “I don’t see that in the future we will have these devices on the street bikes and MotoGP is kind of the place to try how the production bikes will be in the future. You can spot on the new Aprilia the wings we developed two years ago, you can see many things but I don’t see the people on the street with these height devices because it makes very difficult to control the bike, every time you have to push more and more buttons. Then also when you brake, the stability of the bike change and it can cause a lot of problems. So for me they did a good decision.
“We’ve been very good developing the rear height device in Aprilia. We’ve been one of the first to have it, so we were ready also to have the front one but for me it was no meaning.
“I don’t want to be polemic but I think that the championship need to raise up the level of their technicians,” he continued. “That’s clear. I think it’s almost impossible that they get better engineers that what we have on the teams. A clear example of the front height device is Gigi Dall’Igna [Ducati General Manager], a very, very intelligent, and good engineer, but also in Aprilia, we have very, very good technicians that can invent a lot of things.
“So I think that they need to be a little more in advance, the technicians of IRTA or Dorna or wherever, they need to be a little bit more smart. They need to be more and better. Because if not, I can really understand the position of Ducati.
“They follow the rules, they invest money, they invest time, which is sometimes even worse than the money. Because as they said it’s not just about the money but the time they were developing the front height device, they were not working on the engine, for example. They weren’t working on another system, so they’ve been the best ones to do this but in terms of safety, my point of view is that is not safe. So I think the championship has been good to ban this but I can understand them. I can understand that they are not happy for sure.”