New to motogp.com?Register here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

First Aprilia 4 stroke tests please Racing Director Jan Witteveen

First Aprilia 4 stroke tests please Racing Director Jan Witteveen

Aprilia´s MotoGP challenge got on the road in Jerez on Thursday, with the Italian manufacturer running the MotoGP spec RS3 prototype in it´s first full private test session. The Noale factory´s General Racing Director Jan Witteveen was on hand to oversee proceedings, and motograndprix.com conferred with the Dutchman about the future for the RS3 machine.

motograndprix.com: How has the first test gone so far?

Jan Witteveen: Without any problems really. Obviously we couldn´t start during the morning of the first day because of the conditions, but the function of the bike is okay, the engine works well and all the components seem to work. Now we have to concentrate on setting up the bike from the information we have gained so far. We need to find a harmony between all the parts, and find the best settings for the engine, power delivery, suspension, tyres, handling. We started with nothing at this test, but the performance is there, and we are in good shape for the future.

mgp: What are the advantages of the three-cylinder bike?

J.W: The advantage of this choice is that we stay in the minimum weight limits, and will be 10kg lighter. Another reason is that the 3-cylinder arrangement has been a long time European concept, and we wanted to continue with that idea. Furthermore, if Aprilia decides to produce a road version of this bike, it will be cheaper than if it were a ´V´ engine. The dimensions of the performance parts are similar to those used in Formula One, and we can use much of the experience and technology from this. With four and five cylinders, you can only use general technology and not the specifics. We thought about this factor because we need to have a short development time.

mgp: Honda and Yamaha have been testing throughout 2001, how is that going to affect your chances this year?

J.W: I think we have a good base with the engine. The reliability level is high already, and we will generally have less problems at less cost; four-strokes are very expensive engines. We have put all the technology we have at our possession into the bike, from 125, 250, 500cc two-cylinder, and also Superbike. This is the first time we have put in all the parts we think will work together. The technology we already have leads me to think we should have a shorter development time than the other manufacturers. Our target for this year is development. Racing is the second priority at the moment. The aim is to have a strong two-man team in 2003, capable of being competitive with the best in the MotoGP class.

mgp: Regis Laconi rode his old Superbike instead of the RS3 on the first day, why is that?

J.W: I needed to get a reference for Laconi. He has had three months without riding and so we need to get him back to the level of the end of last year, and then we will switch him onto the MotoGP bike.

mgp: After so much speculation about who would be chosen to ride the new machine, why did you eventually sign Regis?

J.W: The important points are that he has one year of experience with Superbike, and Aprilia Superbike at that, so we always have a reference. Also I think he has a good mixed experience, having been in GPs previously, and if the bike is in conditions to get a good result, he can do it. Additionally, he gives good feedback from a technical point of view, and he will help us develop in that way.

mgp: Marcellino Lucchi is a very well respected rider, will he get to race with the RS3?

J.W: It´s difficult to say. We are at the beginning of the project, so we do not know if we will have the material available to race him. If there is a possibility, we will likely ride him in one race, probably Mugello. So it is possible if it doesn´t impact normal development too much. However, he is a test rider primarily, for both the MotoGP bike and the Superbike.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

Other updates you may be interested in ›