LOWES APRILIA FUTURE IN DOUBT
While Crutchlow has his Motogp future secure, Sam Lowes’ position with the factory Aprilia squad could well be in doubt for the 2018 season. Despite having a two-year contract with the Italian manufactuter, team boss Romano Albesiano slammed the rookie’s performances so far this season and admitted that they’ve started talks with potential replacements.
Lowes has had a slow start to the season, taking points from only one of the season’s first seven races. However, blighted by technical issues, he’s struggled with an unreliable RS-GP machine that has seen him sit out two qualifying sessions and retire from one race already this year.
However, despite an improving pace, Albesiano admitted at the Catalan Grand Prix that Lowes is in real danger for next year.
“We made a big investment in Sam, and we really hope that he can quickly show some improvement, but at the same time we have to prepare for next season in case that doesn’t happen, so we’re talking to some other riders. We expect him to show improvements, to show the right trend and to get to the right place soon.”
And while it seems likely that one of those riders Aprilia have been in talks with is Italian Andrea Iannone, trapped in a loveless marriage at Suzuki, Albesiano refused to be drawn on exactly who they’d been in talks with.
However, while the factory bosses at Aprilia might have turned their backs on Lowes, there’s one person in the team who still firmly supports him: his team-mate Aleix Espargaró, with the Spaniard quick to defend the Brit as news of Aprilia’s search for a replacement emerged.
“I’ve read lots about my team-mate for next year and it makes me very angry. It’s race seven and we need to have more respect for riders that last year won races.
“We can’t just f***ing forget these things in three months, and we need to give more time to Sam because he’s a very talented rider. If we arrive in Valencia in November and his results still aren’t competitive then maybe then we should think about something, but not in June.”