Aprilia MotoGP boss Romano Albesiano admits the Italian marque’s 2017 points tally should leave it feeling “depressed”.
Aprilia enjoyed a strong start to its third season back in MotoGP, with Aleix Espargaro – who joined from Suzuki – taking the heavily revised RS-GP to sixth place in Qatar.
However, a slew of crashes and mechanical issues thwarted Espargaro’s efforts, while team-mate Sam Lowes struggled to adapt to life in MotoGP and scored points on just two occasions all season.
Aprilia ended the campaign last in the constructors’ standings on 64 points, 37 fewer than it managed in 2016 and five shy of new entrant KTM in fifth spot, while Espargaro wound up 15th in the riders’ points.
“Definitely it has been a positive season from a performance point of view,” he said. “We reached a level we didn’t expect.
“If you look at the points we have scored, we should be really depressed. But if you look on the other side, we can be very happy.
“One of the side of the garage was very strong, one side was not.
“We had a fantastic performance this year from Aleix, but we didn’t get the same from Sam unfortunately.
“From a bike development point of view, we are very happy. We showed clearly that the bike is able to fight with the top bikes.
“We were stronger in the second half of the race in the first part of the season, but we struggled in the first part of the race.
“We feel we are quite ready from a technical point of view.
“We have to be more consistent, we have to do less mistakes, on our side, also the rider has to be more consistent.
“This is how we feel: very happy and very positive for the next season.”
Espargaro will remain with Aprilia for 2018 and will be joined by Scott Redding, while Lowes will return to Moto2 after his two-year deal was terminated mid-season.