Ellison reviews first ride on PBM CRT

Thursday, 23 February 2012

James Ellison had his first opportunity to test the Aprilia Paul Bird Motorsports CRT he will ride in his return to the World Championship.

Five and a half years after his last ride on a MotoGP™ bike—when he was a Tech 3 Yamaha team rider in 2006 —James Ellison concluded his first two days of testing the MotoGP CRT he will contest for the British outfit in 2012.

Ellison and his team spent the first day on the tarmac running through the new bike and trying to discover what the machine was capable of, as well as learning the parameters of the traction and wheelie control. The 31 year old expressed his surprise after just a half day of making runs of five or six laps, saying, "It handles really well, I expected to get on it and say ‘we need to change this, we need to adjust that’, but it just feels like a race bike. I’m really impressed with it so far."

The British rider was surprised by the grip the Bridgestone tyres offered, and in contrast to the opinions of the other riders at the test, proclaimed: "The tyres have tons of grip, the front hasn’t moved yet. I feel like I’m pushing as hard as I can considering I’ve been off a bike for so long," though he conceded that he might not be up to a pace that would push the tyre’s limits, saying, "We are a few seconds off pace for now, so maybe when I pick it up I’ll start feeling where the other riders are struggling as well. The guys on the team and I are learning and we really just want to leave with knowledge and walk away with the bike in one piece, that’s the main aim."

By the end of the second day, Ellison had run a best time of 1’42.526, a positive accomplishment considering his bike was running steel brakes rather than the carbon brakes the other teams were using. "The bikes are identical except we still have steel brakes. The carbon disks will be a big thing when we get them, today we tried to follow a few riders and the braking marks were the worst- I tried to brake where they did and just ran on. So that’s been the main problem this week."

Ellison was appreciative that there were other teams running ART (Aprilia Racing Technology) bikes present at the test to compare his progress against. "It’s not like we can go next door and ask which ‘springs are you running?’ But it helps to compare on track." In fact the Brit used the other riders as a benchmark and stated that he learned as much as he could by trying to follow Randy de Puniet, the fastest CRT rider at the test, who best lap was a 1'40.3.

Above all, Ellison was impressed with the potential of the bike, a potential which exceeded his and the team’s expectations. "The potential is phenomenal. I think it will be a strong package. Out of all the CRTs,(the ART) seems to be one of the best, if not the best package. It’s early, we don’t know what they have done to other bikes and how much time they have spent on the bikes, but potentially it’s really good. It’s exciting to know."

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