Alvaro Bautista growing more comfortable with new bike throughout Qatar test
Three days of tests on the Losail track in Qatar marked the official début of the 2016 Aprilia RS-GP 2016, the brand new bike that Aprilia Racing will use to compete in the top category of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing which, right here on this track, will start on 20 March.
For the official Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders, Alvaro Bautista and teammate Stefan Bradl, these were very important days. On the one hand, they are getting to know a completely new bike.
On the other hand, they must immediately solve the inevitable growing pains and make the right choices straight away to reach a solid technical base from which to develop and increase performance. Besides this, there are many technical details that, being put through their paces for the first time, need to be fine-tuned.
The first MotoGP bike ever entirely designed and built by Aprilia, beginning with the 4-cylinder engine in the exclusive narrow V configuration, confirmed the good feelings it had already given the riders straight away: the bike’s dynamic performance is decidedly better than the laboratory bike used last season.
Acknowledged as “a real MotoGP bike”, the Italian machine has plenty of room for growth, improving with each outing and managing, in extremely tight standings, to put good times on the boards, considering the fact that this is its first real outing.
The three days of the latest IRTA tests, held at night prior to the racing début, had the 2016 RS-GP machines putting in a total of 210 laps (106 for Bautista, with a fastest time of 1’57.043 and 104 for Bradl with a time of 1’57.340), alternating, especially on the first two days, with frequent stops in pit lane required by the many modifications that naturally need to be made on a newborn bike on testing days.
“Basically these were the first real three days with this bike since the private tests last week were used to sort out the bike and verify that everything was working properly. Now we are getting to know the bike, thanks in part to the many small changes that we have consistently made to see how it would react. Today I gained confidence and we were able to lap a lot and get a very positive feeling because the more laps I took the more I improved, becoming more and more comfortable with the bike. This is a very important aspect because we are still far from 100% and we have plenty of room for improvement. We are on the right path. The bike is lighter, it has better traction, it is more stable and it is a lot more nimble in direction changes. We need to continue on this path, even in the first races where we’ll have the chance to continue working on comprehension and development”.