Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola: We're Not Ready To Win, We're Ready To Be The Underdog

Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola and Antonio Jiménez, crew chief to Aleix Espargaro, speak of what the rest of the season holds for the Noale factory after a historic first MotoGP victory in Argentina.

Not for the first time Argentina was the scene of another wacky MotoGP weekend. There was a list of factors that could explain Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia’s maiden premier class triumph: A revamped schedule due to delays with the freight arriving. A bumpy, dirty track that had barely been used since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. And the absence of Marc Marquez, the winner of the 2019 event by a handsome 6s.

Even then, there was enough to suggest this won’t be a one off. Espargaro was bullish regarding their chances for the rest of 2022. And he has every reason to be, such is the strength of the RS-GP at each track we’ve visited since the beginning of preseason. Had it not rained before the Indonesian start, he could have been a podium contender at each outing so far. “If we don’t make any mistakes we will be in the mix for the victory and for the podium every weekend,” he said on Sunday.

Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola gave a more reserved assessment. Speaking to Motomatters outside the factory pit box on Sunday evening after the Argentina race, the Italian stopped just short of his rider’s enthusiasm. But the ’22 RS-GP is now a real all-round package, boasting great agility and genuine top speed (see Espargaro’s repeated overtaking of Jorge Martin on the back straight). With some justification, he suggested there could be rounds in the future when his rider is fighting at the very front.

“It’s super fantastic and difficult to describe,” began Rivola, summing up his emotions. “I would say it came a bit too early considering our progression year by year. But for sure I don’t regret that it came already. Now the difficulty is to stay at that level. We know this track is good for us because of the layout. We know this weekend was a bit different. It was shorter so maybe in favour of Aleix’s characteristics. We had some advantages. But we took the opportunity and we used it.

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Say what you want about CRT and the Open Class category (I sure did) but in the end things have played out rather well. The fact that we have Aprilia, Suzuki and KTM on the track and competitive says it all. There's still a couple more brands to bring back into the fold yet, so fingers crossed for the future.

Speaking of which, embarking on the 2012 CRT venture we saw a good chassis get huge concessions ...decent motor looked REALLY tops. They had no fuel limits, and we wondered what an uncorked full wick MotoGP engine could do in a "hey Suter/Kalex etc toss us a Yamaha like chassis" plus NO restrictions could do? It was a hybrid of some MotoGP elements, some SBK elements, and less limits imposed re weight, fuel etc. And we had JUST seen an era in which GP motors were hamstringed by allowed amount of fuel per race coming down...remember?

Memory? Colin Edwards, Suter chassis and BMW engine...looked promising! FTR/BQR w a Kawasaki motor. Et al.

But year #2 2013 Edwards/Corti had a FTR chassis and Kawasaki engine...I thought this thing w no constraints was COMING.

Which bike stood out, and even reached into the gap to be a full GP bike?

The Aprilia RSV4 CRT Bike! It was better than it should be! I remember watching it mid pack...f*ck, that's a Superduperbike! A.Espargaro and DePuniet. A fookin RSV4 modified a bit ran fookin mid pack.