– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews





During the three days of MotoGP tests at Phillip Island, Aprilia was consistently among the protagonists, with Aleix Espargarò in the top-10 of the final combined standings, showing promising potential in terms of race pace. His best lap, done today at 1’29.361, places him just over 8 tenths from the leader and only 4 tenths from the virtual podium. These are positive signs that confirm a growth trend which had the 2017 version RS-GP as protagonist, already well-liked by Aleix at Sepang and progressing further in these Australian tests.

On the other side of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini garage, rookie Sam Lowes quickly recovered the right confidence after his two crashes on the first day, continuing down the path toward his first race in the premier motorcycle racing category. The English rider did a total of 156 laps over the three days, the best of which was logged at 1’30.200, 1.651 seconds from the leader. This is a gap that, with reference to the points zone, drops about a half a second.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’“We are leaving these tests at a good overall level. We really worked hard. Today we focused on consistent performance. The RS-GP did very well in race simulations but we know that there is still room for improvement on that front. Here at Phillip Island I found a bike that once again suits my riding style in braking, whereas we were able to improve in terms of grip compared with the Sepang tests. After talking with the others, I think that we should be able to gain something in the turns, especially the fast corners, speaking of which, we tried a few changes to the chassis architecture to see if we could find more speed in the centre of the turns. In Qatar we will continue in this direction, trying both the new fairing and the evolved engine again to establish the base for the first race weekend.”

SAM LOWES“There are many more positive aspects of our tests than it may seem. I started off with a few difficulties, but growth was constant. I managed to stay up with the group of riders ahead of me, despite a few uncertainties in my fast lap that cost me a couple of tenths. We obviously need to be faster, but I think that all the riders on the grid would say the same. The gaps are incredibly close. With the exception of the top two, practically all the other riders are within just over a second. To be honest, if we were to race tomorrow I think I could battle for the points zone, but I know that our potential is much higher, so the tests in Qatar will be our chance to look for another step forward. What Aleix demonstrated with the 2017 bike is an important sign. I know that I have a good technical package to start the season in the best possible way.”

ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER“Our test was definitely positive. We identified the areas where we need to improve rather precisely and, in light of our performance, this makes us optimistic for the beginning of the season. Here at Phillip Island, Aleix once again confirmed his good feeling with the RS-GP, as we had already seen in Valencia and Sepang. Now we need to combine the information gathered to optimise our package. We know that it will not be easy. The level of competition this year is incredibly high and a few tenths can make a huge difference. As for Sam, after a few initial uncertainties, things began to head in the right direction and he finished on a positive trend, working like a MotoGP rider. We know his talent. If he is able to channel is energy, he will be able to achieve any result he sets his mind to.” 

FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER“These were very positive tests. We took some more steps forward in terms of the new bike and Aleix was able to reduce the gap behind the leaders, who are not at all that far ahead. Our work is obviously not done here. We need to continue developing various things, from every point of view, but up to this point, the winter tests have provided us with good feedback, so we are satisfied and confident that we can do well. I am also satisfied with Lowes’ performance. On the 2016 bike, just like in Sepang, he gradually lowered his times over these 3 days, finishing at less than a second behind his teammate. Sam has time to improve more and we will give him the best possible support to do just that.”

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