THE APRILIA MACHINES ARE AT WORK ON THE MONTMELÒ TRACK WHICH THEY WILL TAKE ON FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A RACE TOMORROW
MotoGP began the second day of practice at Catalunya after the tragic news of the passing of Luis Salom after the accident yesterday in the Moto2 FP2 session. For safety reasons the last part of the Catalan track was modified, adopting a slower configuration similar to the one used by Formula 1.
This means that a lot of changes had to be made to the Aprilia RS-GP machines that are making their absolute début on this track, ridden by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, in terms of both electronics and the seamless gearbox ratios. These changes were tested in the morning FP3 session (extended 60 minutes instead of the regulation 45) and in the FP4 session that preceded qualifying. In line with what had already occurred yesterday, the clear difficulty managing the tyres over race distance emerged due to the characteristics of the track and the typically summer temperatures on the Montmelò circuit.
The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders finished the decisive qualifying session in eighteenth place with Bradl, who improved his feeling compared to yesterday, and twenty-first with Bautista, conditioned by a bike change due to a harmless crash in FP4. This means that they will start respectively from the sixth and seventh row.
“It was a rather tough day where we also had to change our points of reference due to the new track. In the morning we lapped a lot on used tyres, using the medium up front, but we are finding that with this solution we cannot ride the entire race distance. The same goes for the soft rear tyre. So, in FP4 we tried to lap with hard and used tyres but at the end of the session a crash forced me to use the second bike in qualifying and the feeling wasn't the same as the one I had with the other RS-GP, so I wasn't able to ride well. Now we need to take some decisions for the race, but it seems clear that we will have to race with the hard solution”.
“We improved compared to yesterday, not so much in terms of the standings, but the changes we made are taking us in the right direction. I am definitely more confident for tomorrow. We found some advantages with the hard front tyre that we tested in FP4, gaining more stability. The tyres will definitely be the main concern during the race. We tried a lot of changes to make it easier to look after them, but the 25 laps tomorrow will be rather demanding. The situation should be similar for everyone. We will need to find a way to conserve the tyres as much as possible. It will be an interesting Sunday”.