Espargaro has grown increasingly despondent at Aprilia over the course of the current campaign, repeatedly questioning both the rate of progress of the RS-GP bike and the manufacturer’s decision to pursue a radical overhaul for the 2020 version.

He was particularly aggrieved in the aftermath of a recent test at Misano, where he said he was given “nothing new to try” by the team.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Smith acknowledged that Aprilia’s in-season development has slowed, but expressed belief that the current struggles would be compensated for down the line.

“Aprilia understood that we needed a bigger overhaul than just fine-tuning for 2020, and that means because we are a small company we need a little bit more time than anyone else,” he said.

“If Aleix can hold on another few months, I hope that he is able to change his tone and he is happy with what Aprilia provide on the table.”

For PRIME users:

Smith insisted that he did not take Espargaro’s public discontent personally.

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Bradley Smith, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

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