Aleix Espargaro has stepped up his pointed rhetoric towards Andrea Dovizioso by claiming he ‘wasn’t very competitive’ in the three tests the Italian conducted with the team in order to evaluate a potential return to racing.
Dovizioso is currently on a sabbatical from full-time competition after severing ties with Ducati at the end of the 2020 MotoGP season in a disagreement over salary and terms.
While the Italian has maintained a fairly low profile this year, he has popped up on Aprilia machinery during three tests at Valencia and Misano, with the Noale brand making it clear at the time he was top of its wishlist of riders for 2022.
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However, Dovizioso dragged his feet over a decision to sign on the dotted line – drawing ire from Espargaro who accused him of wasting the team’s time and energy – and now it seems Maverick Vinales will get the seat alongside his fellow Spaniard.
While that announcement is still to be confirmed, Espargaro says he thinks Dovizioso is out of the running now, adding that he wasn’t all that competitive in the tests (two dry, one wet) anyway. No lap times were communicated by Aprilia to verify Espargaro’s claims.
“It’s difficult to evolve the bike because, when something new comes along, you have to test it,” Espargaro said. “They wanted me to do a couple of tests during the summer break and get in the wind tunnel. It would be helpful to have a stronger teammate or a satellite team.
“Dovizioso has done a couple of tests with us, but he hasn’t been very competitive so far and doesn’t seem to want to race. I’m a big fan of his, but it’s hard to see him as my teammate.“