Just after the official launch of MotoGP 2012 Aspar team in Madrid, Motomatters.com spoke to Spanish 125 and 80 cc former world champion Jorge Martinez Aspar, general manager of one of only two teams in the MotoGP World Championship with a presence in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes in the 2012 season. Being also one of the few teams in 2012 entered under the MotoGP CRT technical rules, fielding riders riders Randy De Puniet and Aleix Esparago on Aprilia’s ART bikes, the Aspar team is also in the front line of trying to demonstrate that CRT is the right formula to ensure that MotoGP sees a return to full grids.
But we still have some questions to ask about the CRT Aprilias Aspar is contesting this season, and we also asked if their bikes will receive tech improvements during the season: “I have spoken to Gigi Dall'Igna about this issue”, Martinez responded, whose team is being supported by MAPFRE, Bankia and Power Electronics as main sponsors for next season. “We know we have a great technical potential, but I think it would be a big mistake if we changed our goals for the season and started chasing factory or satellite MotoGP bikes on the track. Our goal for 2012 is finish the season ahead of all the CRT bikes. We are already close to some MotoGP satellite bikes and there are real chances to beat them sometimes, but the Aspar team has to stay focused on making the fastest CRT bikes. For sure, we have great potential, but technical evolution is not our goal yet”.
As the Aspar ART machines where the closest CRT bike to the MotoGP satellite and factory bikes at the IRTA test last week at Jerez, we wanted to know what a CRT bike would need to get even closer to the satellite bikes: “If there was a softer tire available”, continues Aspar, “I’m sure our CRT Aprilia would be ahead of several MotoGP prototypes. But probably we need to wait for at least three Grand Prix races and then see what’s going on. Racing is very different to testing, and three races can give us a more realistic idea of what racing a CRT is like”.
The CRT formula has been created to curb the spiraling costs that the technology developed during the recent 800cc MotoGP era, and the perspective of a team that leased bikes during the past two seasons is always an interesting one: “In economic terms, it is still too early to assess the real benefits of a CRT bike because the season has not even started. We still have to find out about engine reliability, spare parts and other expenses, but the cost of the CRT bike itself is much lower compared to leasing a MotoGP satellite bike. It is not easy to calculate, because the season will answer all of these questions, but I still see two clear advantages. First one is the price of the bike itself, which is may be 30 or 40% lower than last year’s leasing deal with Ducati. The second main advantage is that the bikes will become property of the team at the end of the season. With the leasing system, we had to give the bike back to the factory, which makes everything more difficult”.