Aprilia encouraged by 2016 MotoGP bike's debut tests

Aprilia says it is "relatively optimistic" heading into the MotoGP race debut of its new RS-GP, following its run in Qatar's final pre-season test

Aprilia encouraged by 2016 MotoGP bike's debut tests

The Italian manufacturer's all-new bike was delayed during development, only turning its first laps in a shakedown at Aragon in the middle of February.

Aprilia skipped the second official MotoGP test at Phillip Island and instead opted for a private test at Losail, before rejoining the full field last week.

Race riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl completed 210 laps between them over the three days, with Bautista's fastest time of 1m57.043s on the final day putting him 18th, three spots up on Bradl.

"These three days, and particularly [Friday], were really very important and positive for us," Aprilia racing manager Romano Albesiano said.

"We did a lot of work, managing in the end to put in a good number of laps with both riders.

"This is what we need to grow a project that has just taken its first steps.

"I am quite satisfied with the consistency Alvaro achieved in the final outings with a used tyre, performance that makes me relatively optimistic for the maiden race.

"Maybe we were lacking a bit on the fast lap with both Alvaro and Stefan, but that definitely was not our objective.

"We are leaving Qatar with a lot of information that we will need to translate into action from now until the race, working night and day if necessary."

Aprilia's machine for its MotoGP return last year was based on a superbike, and originally designed for the CRT class regulations.

That was often dubbed a 'laboratory bike' as Aprilia developed its first prototype for the premier class.

Bautista was encouraged by what he described as "the first real three days" with the RS-GP, which features a narrow-V engine configuration.

"We are getting to know the bike, thanks in part to the many small changes that we have consistently made to see how it would react," he said.

"I gained confidence and we were able to lap a lot and get a very positive feeling because the more laps I took the more I improved, becoming more and more comfortable with the bike.

"This is a very important aspect because we are still far from 100 per cent and we have plenty of room for improvement. We are on the right path.

"The bike is lighter, it has better traction, it is more stable and it is a lot more nimble in direction changes.

"We need to continue on this path, even in the first races where we'll have the chance to continue working on comprehension and development."

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