Aprilia boss says money shouldn’t be determining factor in MotoGP rider’s future

Fabio Quartararo, the 2021 world champion, announced last week that he would stay at Yamaha for another two years despite speculation linking him with other teams as the Japanese manufacturer continues to struggle to be competitive.

Autosport understands that the French rider’s new contract with Yamaha is worth €12 million per year, making Quartararo the highest-paid rider on the grid.

In recent months, Aprilia had opened a line of dialogue with Quartararo over a possible move, but the Italian team’s offer was barely more than €4m.

Speaking to Autosport, Rivola suggested Aprilia’s priority is to use its budget to improve the bike instead of offering riders bigger salaries.

«The limit that we have at an economic level in terms of rider salaries is very much related to the performance of the bike. If a rider wants to win, I don’t know if money should be the determining factor in that decision,» Rivola told said.

«Before that, I think it’s more important that he asks himself what he wants to do: do I want to make money or do I want a project that allows me to win? And I think the Aprilia project allows you to fight to win.

«And I will say more: if he wins, money will not be a problem. But the commitment has to be mutual.»

Asked to assess Yamaha’s decision, he said: «I’m not used to commenting on news about other teams. In this case, I will simply say that it seems to me that Yamaha is moving in the right direction.»

Regarding the line-up for next season, Rivola believes that Espargaro and Maverick Vinales deserve preferential treatment because of the gamble they took in joining the team.

In that sense, and given the level of competitiveness of the RS-GP, Aprilia is in no hurry.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Aprilia Racing

«We will probably be the last ones to sign the two riders for 2025. First of all, because we want to respect Aleix and Maverick, and give them time to make clear their desire to continue. Of course, I listen to everyone, because it is very interesting to know how one is perceived,» said the Aprilia CEO.

Although his impact on the Noale factory project has been decisive since he joined at the end of 2018, Rivola is elegant enough to downplay his merit, and shift most of the weight to the company he works for.

According to Nielsen data, Aprilia’s value has increased tenfold in the last five years, the same amount of time Rivola has been its CEO.

In his first three years as boss, Aprilia finished bottom of the constructors’ table, only to take a huge step forward by finishing third in 2022, a year in which it was able to compete as a factory without its management going hand in hand with the Gresini team, and in which it achieved its first MotoGP win, in Argentina, courtesy of Aleix Espargaro.

The Spaniard was one of the title contenders until the Asian tour that marked the last part of the calendar, in which the RS-GP stagnated.

Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO

Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

In 2023, Aprilia consolidated its position in third place, even appearing to have the second-best bike on the grid, behind only the all-powerful Ducati.

«Our growth came about because the Piaggio group wanted to invest in MotoGP,» Rivola added.

«Let’s say that my arrival coincided with that willingness to invest. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.

«And the first thing they invested in was the people.

«We are looking for a good balance between the motorbike racing culture in Noale and the incorporation of talents coming from other fields such as F1. This offers a mix of people with a very high level of experience and knowledge, such as Romano Albesiano — technical director — with young people who have just graduated from university,» the executive explains.

«When you manage to grow every year, motivation increases because you realise that you are heading in the right direction. If our bike is getting better and better, it’s because we are stronger at the factory level. And then, of course, the rider factor has a big influence.»

Source link