Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

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.”

Sam Lowes is un­der pres­sure at Aprilia

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