ALVARO BAUTISTA SEVENTH AND STEFAN BRADL TENTH, CONFIRMING THE RS-GP'S PROGRESS
In the race that decided the 2016 World Championship, Aprilia has plenty to be satisfied about. Alvaro Bautista, fast and precise for all 23 laps, took a nice seventh place (his best result of the season) 23 seconds from the leader. Tenth place for Stefan Bradl after a small mistake in the finale kept him from making a go for ninth and eighth place.
Overall, the Japanese weekend confirmed the Italian team's excellent form. Fast in qualifying and consistent in the race, the season finale promises to be positive for both Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders. Alvaro Bautista got off the line well when the lights went out from his twelfth spot on the grid, overtaking Redding and Petrucci in succession. From the tenth lap, Alvaro kept the gap behind Pol Espargaró constant without making any mistakes and consistently lapping at 1'47. When the chequered flag came out, the gap behind the winner, Marquez, was 23 seconds, whereas the gap behind the fifth place finisher was reduced to 8 seconds.
Stefan Bradl also had a positive performance, skilfully recovering after a less than perfect start, coming back to take tenth place. The German also had the potential for a better placement, but a mistake in the penultimate lap made him lose contact with eighth and ninth place, positions that were within his grasp up to that point.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"A good race for us. We continued our trend in this stage of the season. We are headed to a track at Phillip Island that has very different characteristics where we will be seeking further confirmation. The goal is to keep improving, looking for more steps that will allow us to further close the gap behind the leaders. I am satisfied with everyone's work, from the team to the riders, as well as the guys who are working at home".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"We confirmed our progress here again throughout the weekend. Despite the crashes in qualifying, the riders recovered well. Alvaro rode a great race and Stefan also brought home important points. We need to continue like this, taking small steps and staying focused. Aprilia and the team are doing an excellent job. We have narrowed the gap and now we need to set our sights on finishing the season well".
"A good race, the best result so far with Aprilia. Of course, the crashes gave us a couple of positions, but that is all part of racing. I am especially satisfied with the work done this weekend. After not having good sensations on Friday, we were able to recover, going through to Q2. We showed that we can be fast on tracks with very different characteristics: from Misano, twisting, to Motegi with a lot of hard braking and acceleration sections. This is important as it shows that we have taken a step forward on all fronts. We will try to confirm this in the coming races. I want to finish the season in the best possible way".
"I am not fully satisfied with the race today. We had the potential to aim for a better result. Unfortunately, I lost a few positions straight away at the start, whereas during the race I could not find the same feeling braking that I had yesterday in practice. Because of that, I made a few mistakes that certainly cost us a few positions. In any case, being in the top-10 is important to continue our positive trend. We worked well throughout the weekend and we want to do the same at Phillip Island as well".