“After the first contact in Misano, I'm beginning to feel more and more at ease astride the RS-GP. It is a positive trend. I improved every time I went out and we began to work on the bike setup to adapt it to my riding style. We have more tests scheduled with Aprilia, but at the moment I am pleased with the level we have achieved. The track is very nice. There are some tight corners and flowing sections. Overall it's fun. It isn't very difficult to learn; you just have to remember the right reference points on the blind corners. Let's just say that, after riding the RS-GP, the straight stretches will seem even longer with the Moto2 bike!”.
APRILIA EXPLORES THE RED BULL RING
TWO DAYS OF TESTS FOR BAUTISTA, LOWES AND DI MEGLIO ON THE NEW AUSTRIAN CIRCUIT
The MotoGP riders had a chance to discover the Austrian Red Bull Ring circuit, one of the new additions to the 2016 calendar. Characterised by hard braking, fast acceleration and steep slope changes, the new track will host the next round on the weekend of 14 August.
Only Alvaro Bautista was on the track for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, whereas his teammate, Stefan Bradl, is still recovering after his crash during the warm-up session at the Sachsenring last weekend.
Two more RS-GP machines available to the Aprilia Test Team were ridden by tester Mike Di Meglio and Sam Lowes, the English rider currently on the Gresini Moto2 Team, on his second time out with the Italian MotoGP bike that he will ride next season. Sam is continuing his apprenticeship on the RS-GP that began recently in Misano, completing 58 laps on the first day of testing.
Bautista focused on preparatory tests for the race, therefore working on the chassis and electronics setup, in addition to tyre choice. The Austrian track proved to be rather particular straight away. There are a lot of blind corners and the braking and acceleration sections become extremely important, just as much as engine performance that is put to the test on the long, uphill straight stretches. Alvaro also conducted some comparative tests with a new type of front wing and the lighter swingarm that had already been tested at the Sachsenring, two elements that will require further evaluation.
The results in terms of times were satisfactory, with Alvaro taking 166 laps over the course of the two days.
“On this new track you need a lot of engine and a stable bike in braking and acceleration. We worked with these goals, finding some interesting solutions in terms of the race. We still need to do some more testing on the lighter swingarm though. I'm still not certain that it provides an advantage. I should also point out that this is a rather particular track, so it is quite difficult to make comparisons. In terms of safety, on the other hand, I think there are a few spots with very little space and close to the walls. Before the race it would be good to think about a few solutions, especially given the high speeds”.