4 years ago
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With three days of testing on the Valencia track the Aprilia 2015 MotoGP™ adventure has begun.
Aprilia arrived for testing on the Ricardo Tormo circuit, which represented a taste of the 2015 season with Gresini Racing who will be managing the Italian bikes in the MotoGP class.
Marco Melandri and Alvaro Bautista threw a leg over the Aprilia MotoGP bike for the first time, also having two of the brand new pneumatic valve distribution engines available.
A brand new engine that needs to be dialled in, especially in terms of electronic management, and a completely new bike for the two riders. After four years in the Superbike championship, Melandri had the additional issue of regaining familiarity with Bridgestone tyres and carbon brakes. So the goal for this first outing was to build experience, put in a lot of laps and collect as much data as possible. However, there was no lack of positive indications, especially in terms of potential – and therefore the possibility for development – of both the bike and the powerplant.
The work plan, which originally had only the test rider Alex Hofmann lapping on Monday, was changed due to adverse weather conditions. Both Melandri and Bautista took to the track straight away, even if for only a few laps, on Monday afternoon. It turned out to be a good decision since the second day was characterised by a constantly wet track due to persistent rain.
The situation on Wednesday was decidedly better. The riders went out on the track in the late morning and kept testing until 5pm. 68 laps for Bautista and 56 for Melandri are a testament to the amount of work done.
Melandri said, “We took a completely new bike out on its maiden run - what a great experience! For me I had to get used to some very different tyres than the ones from my Superbike seasons. That's why it was important to take a lot of laps and accumulate data and a feeling with the bike. From that point of view I am satisfied because I'm starting to figure out where to make changes and how. The bike is different than the Aprilia ridden in SBK but it was "born well" and responds well to changes. There is a lot of work to do and the next tests at Jerez will be important.”
Bautista added, “The results are positive although we obviously are aware that there is still a lot of work to do. The engine needs to be improved, but already at the end of the month we'll test the new pneumatic valve unit at Jerez. As for the chassis, we didn't make any changes to the suspension setup and geometries during these tests. We'll begin doing that at Jerez in the next testing session.”
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager, has positive feelings about the first outing, saying “We are satisfied with these first tests. For us this was a true début with all the unknown factors one might expect, but at the end of these three days we can look toward the future development steps with confidence. The new bike proved to be very well balanced straight away and the pneumatic valve engine that we tested on Friday impressed Hofmann with its top shelf performance and rideability.”
“Now all that's left is to get back to work at Noale with the data collected to prepare the developments we'll be taking to the next tests at Jerez.”
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