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Thursday, March 23, 2023

FIRST LOOK: The Aprilia ‘a-Team’ unwrap 2023 MotoGP colours for Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Vinales | MotoGP

The Italian factory is looking to continue momentum from a breakthrough 2022 campaign, which saw a debut MotoGP win and title challenge from Aleix Espargaro, while team-mate Maverick Vinales contributed three of the team’s nine podiums.

The 2023 colours – which continue the black base, with white and red details of last year – were unveiled at Portimao alongside an amusing launch video based on famous TV show ‘The A-Team‘!

The ‘A’ was changed to ‘a’, matching the Aprilia logo, with riders and team members presented in the video with the same style as the US show intro!

“The expectations are higher after last season’s performance. I can’t wait to see how far we can go,” said Espargaro.

“This year I feel much more at one with the bike, which is easier to ride for me,” Vinales added. “Then with my new crew chief Manu [from Suzuki] and some other guys we can complete a good circle… We need to fight every weekend.”

Aprilia is the final manufacturer to reveal this year’s MotoGP livery after previous launches by the official Ducati, Yamaha, Honda and KTM/GASGAS teams. The only remaining launch is by RNF, Aprilia’s new satellite team, which will unveil its colours on March 16.

Last season’s surge propelled Aprilia from last in the constructors’ standings in previous years, to third place behind Ducati and Yamaha, while Espargaro rose from eighth to fourth in the riders’ championship.

But it could easily have been even better.

Despite a miserable time in the flyaway races, Espargaro remained in mathematical MotoGP title contention until the penultimate round.

However, the team’s heart-breaking double technical DNF at the Valencia finale not only stripped Espargaro of third in the riders’ standings (to Enea Bastianini) but cost Aprilia second place (behind Ducati) in both the constructors’ and teams’ championships.

It was a bitter pill to swallow but Aprilia began this year with a strong Sepang test in February, where nine-time MotoGP race winner Vinales (third) and Espargaro (fifth) were the only non-Ducati riders in the top nine.

Last year’s success means Aprilia has lost technical concessions but they will now be armed with extra data from the new satellite partnership with RNF, where Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez will race 2022-spec bikes.

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