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Old 03-04-2016, 02:00 AM   #1
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MotoGP: Aprilia Ride Smart-GP 2016 Finally Makes Its Public Debut

Photo Courtesy of Aprilia

At last! The Aprilia Ride Smart-GP machine breaks cover at the final MotoGP pre-season test at Qatar.

At Qatar during the last of the preseason tests, Aprilia’s all-new MotoGP bike, the Ride Smart-GP 2016, finally made its public debut. The Italian team had had three days of private testing prior to this first public appearance, but test rider Randy De Puniet crashed on the very first lap of what turned out to be a frustrating shakedown test a few days before in Aragon.

“We have lost some time with this unfortunate incident, but things like this happen,” said Romano Albesiano, father of the Noale brand’s new MotoGP bike. The engineer in charge of the Aprilia Reparto Corse explained that their new project started two years ago when the characteristics and layout of the new engine and complete bike were decided.

Photo Courtesy of Aprilia

(Left to right) Stefan Bradl, Aprilia Reparto Corse's Romano Albesiano, Team Manager Fausto Gresini and Alvaro Bautista.

Obviously from this point on there is an inevitable phase of tuning and starting to know and understand the bike in the real world. Albesiano confirmed there is also already a test schedule, which has already started in Qatar, where new chassis pieces and aerodynamics parts were already in Aprilia’s garage to be tested.

The strategy engine-wise is to proceed step-by-step, meaning starting with a performance quite similar to the one they had in the previous bike and start to increase it as the reliability is verified. “The important thing for me is to build up a reasonable base to work with. So far I am happy with the performance we start with”.

Photo Courtesy of Aprilia

Aprilia's Bradl (pictured) and Bautista are currently in test rider mode this early in the development of the new machine.

The incident with De Puniet obligated Stefan Bradl and Álvaro Bautista to assume his test role…and his work. Yesterday both Bradl and Bautista basically limited their sessions to just three or four laps each. No major issues were encountered, but the day was spent essentially checking, understanding, and solving the usual teething problems that accompany a brand new machine instead of establishing and working off a solid baseline.

Despite the setback, the riders were happy to be able to “finally (ride) a real racing bike,” noted Bautista to Sport Rider with a smile in his face. “The bike feels much more compact, much more set on the ground than the old one. Okay, we will have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks, but at least we know that if everything runs as expected, we will finally be able to compete.”

Photo Courtesy of Aprilia

Bautista feels that the new machine will be at full racing potential by round four in Jerez.

Bautista’s expectations are to have the bike set up—meaning ready to race at the maximum for real—for the Spanish GP in Jerez, the fourth venue of the season. ”I hope it happens earlier,” pointed out Albesiano, whose stated goal is to finish regularly in the top 10 in the second half of the season. It dosen´t look like an easy task, but if it happens, MotoGP will have new protagonists in the fight.

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