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Miguel Oliveira complains: Aprilia RS-GP24 “not working as it should”

Trackhouse rider Miguel Oliveira rides the same material as Aprilia factory riders Espargaro and Vinales, but cannot yet get close to them

Aprilia has four bikes on the grid for the 2024 MotoGP season, but they come in two different specifications

In the factory team, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales ride the 2024 Aprilia. In the new second Aprilia team – Trackhouse Racing from the USA – Miguel Oliveira is also on the new development, which is officially called the RS-GP24. Oliveira’s teammate Raul Fernandez, however, is riding a 2023 Aprilia.

While Espargaro and Vinales have each had a strong weekend on the RS-GP24 so far, finishing well up front, especially in the sprints (Espargaro in P3 in Qatar and Vinales in P1 in Portugal), Oliveira is still struggling with the identical bike.

Oliveira has not yet finished in the points in the sprints this season. That alone is no great surprise given the density of the field and the fact that only the top 9 (not the top 15) get points on Saturdays. But even on Sundays, Oliveira is not yet riding in the same range as the factory riders.

After P15 in Qatar and P9 at his home race in Portugal, Oliveira is currently 14th in the standings. Aleix Espargaro is currently seventh in the standings after finishing P8 twice in the Grands Prix. Maverick Vinales is eighth in the standings only because he crashed out on the last lap at Portimao last Sunday through no fault of his own. If he had finished second in the Grand Prix the day after his sprint victory, Vinales would now be third in the world championship.

Why is it that Miguel Oliveira is not yet as comfortable with the Aprilia RS-GP24 as Espargaro and Vinales? “I would have liked bigger steps, but they are small steps, really tiny steps,” says the Trackhouse rider when asked about the winter switch from the 2023 to the 2024 Aprilia

This RS-GP24 differs from last year’s model, which Raul Fernandez rides, particularly in terms of aerodynamics. The engine is also different. “The pure driving experience is actually good. As far as riding is concerned, I’ve already completely changed,” says Oliveira.

“But,” continues the Trackhouse rider, “the bike just doesn’t work the way it should. It’s frustrating, but that’s the situation we’re in. We have to keep working and try to find a way”.

In terms of personnel, Oliveira, like team-mate Raul Fernandez, is not under contract with Trackhouse, but like Espargaro and Vinales directly with Aprilia.

The connection that the US racing team Trackhouse Racing has with the manufacturer from Noale (Italy) is closer than it was with its predecessor team RNF Racing. Is it therefore only a matter of time before Oliveira also gets the hang of the RS-GP24?

There are logistical reasons why Fernandez, who started the season with two no-shows, is not yet riding a current Aprilia. Unlike with a major manufacturer such as Honda, four new motorcycles are not just built up “on the side” at Aprilia. The plan is for Fernandez to get new parts later in the season



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