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Aprilia’s positive progress in 2016 was demonstrated at round 14 in Spain by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, who finished the Aragon GP in ninth and tenth, respectively.
Bautista’s deficit to the race winner of just over 23.071s as he passed the chequered flag in front of the Spanish fans on the RS-GP is the sort of gap Aprilia have been building toward throughout the championship, developing the bike whilst racing over the course of 2016. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Bautista started from 14th on the grid and moved up through the ranks in the initial phases in another good performance after Misano saw the Spaniard head through to Q2 for the first time on the Italian machine. On the seventh lap at MotorLand, Bautista overtook his teammate, proceeding to hunt down Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). Bautista engaged in a heated battle with Dovizioso, eventually coming out on top and moving up into ninth by the flag.
Alvaro Bautista (P9): “A good weekend for us, ending with a double top 10. I had good sensations in the saddle throughout all the practice sessions and we did a good job. In FP4, when I had a consistent pace even with used tyres, I realized that we could do well in the race. I battled with (Yonny) Hernandez and with Dovi, managing to overtake them, and I fell in behind Pol whose times were very similar to mine.
“We maintained a good pace and I saw that we continued to make up ground on the group that was battling for fifth place, but toward the end of the race I lost a bit of feeling with the rear tyre. In any case, ninth place is a great result for me and for Aprilia, considering Stefan's performance as well. Since Misano we have definitely taken a step forward and I wish to thank the team and the guys who are hard at work at home. Now we will continue in this direction to finish the season well.”
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