MOTOGP - FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE AT MUGELLO
THE APRILIA RS-GP TAKES ON THE TUSCAN CIRCUIT FOR THE FIRST TIME
Bautista and Bradl's Aprilia RS-GP machines took on the Mugello circuit for the first time today in the Italian GP Friday practice sessions.
The Tuscan track, with its extreme variety and technical layout, is a top shelf test bench for the Italian bike which, in its maiden season and after five GP rounds, has achieved excellent reliability but has a way to go in terms of pure performance.
On the first day, the first free practice session was basically useless due to the damp track conditions that made the rain tyres ineffective and the slicks unusable.
FP2, held in the dry, was dedicated to a general fine tuning, so the Aprilias were on the track with two powerplants that have been used several times. The new V4 engines will be used tomorrow when, once the initial chassis setups have been selected, the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders will compete in the qualifiers, looking for the best spot on the starting grid and with no choice but to improve on the times they set today: 1’49,913 for Alvaro Bautista and 1’50,368 for Stefan Bradl, times which placed them respectively in 20th and 21st place at the end of the day.
“We lapped very little today since this morning we basically lost FP1 due to the track conditions. In the afternoon we realised that we need to do a good job with the chassis and the setup, because we need to improve on direction changes. We also used an engine that is nearing the end of its life and, on a track like this one with a long straight stretch and a lot of acceleration sections, that definitely means losing a few tenths. So I'm sure that tomorrow we'll be able to improve”.
“This was a pretty complicated day. First of all because in FP1 we didn't go out due to the damp track, whereas in FP2 I wasn't able to find my usual feeling. I didn't feel very confident with the front and coming out of the corners the bike tends to move around a bit too much. We have a long road ahead of us now, but we will begin to analyse the data straight away with the team, trying to resolve the situation so that we can improve”.