23 Feb FIRST DAY OF TESTS FOR THE APRILIA RS-GP IN THE NEW 2019 LIVERY
23 February 2019
AT LOSAIL ESPARGARÓ AND IANNONE HARD AT WORK ALSO THINKING ABOUT THE OPENING RACE
BRADLEY SMITH ON THE TRACK WITH THE TEST TEAM
It was a good first day of tests in Qatar for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. The three days of tests ahead of the World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing season opener also had the test team’s RS-GP on the track with Bradley Smith in the saddle. The work schedule for the Italian team is particularly intense and it is divided between development of the new prototype, which was unveiled precisely for this occasion in the new and aggressive black-based livery, and preparation for the race which will open the MotoGP World Championship on this track March 10th.
Aleix Espargaró worked hard to find the same good sensations he had in the last test in Malaysia two weeks ago. Harmony grew throughout the session that Aleix finished with a time of 1’56.358.
Andrea Iannone turned 30 laps, taking a big step forward in getting to know the bike in what was his first true approach to the RS-GP and finishing just behind his teammate with a time of 1’56.447.
Bradley Smith, who will be racing in Qatar as a wild card, worked primarily on developing the bike, trying various solutions on an aerodynamic level as well, with the first test of a new configuration of the winglets, designed for those tracks that demand a higher load. It was 29 laps for him and a best time of 1’57.137.
“It was a classic first day of testing. At the beginning, I struggled to find those good sensations I had in Malaysia. I also had a harmless crash, but here in Qatar, the actual time of track use is rather low, so it is always a shame to lose time. Then, my confidence gradually increased, but we are only at the beginning, so we will move forward getting to know the 2019 bike, which is proving to be significantly better than the 2018. We are looking for a good setting, also thinking about the first race, so that’s why we’ll be working primarily on the electronics tomorrow and with used tyres, with the goal of being competitive in the second part of the race.”
“I am satisfied with the work done today in what is my first true day of 2019 tests. We are starting from a good base. The bike works well and I am convinced that there is still a lot of potential to explore. This is precisely our goal, to get to know the RS-GP and to keep improving, outing after outing. We have already succeeded with the front. I am braking harder and with better sensations. We also worked to reduce the chattering a bit that limited us on some turns, making steps in the right direction. But above all, we are a united group, with common goals and great harmony, and this is something that is very important for me.”