Aprilia test updated MotoGP machine at Jerez
Three full days of work for the riders and the team marked the second time on the track for the Aprilia MotoGP project. After the Valencia tests two weeks ago Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri got back in the saddle of their Aprilia MotoGP bikes to prepare for the 2015 season.
Once again the weather unfortunately conditioned the progress of the testing schedule, especially on the last day (Thursday), with continuous showers and a constantly wet track.
Despite the stops and goes dictated by weather conditions, the Aprilia bike managed to confirm the fact that it “hatched well”, a fundamental quality for the development schedule to proceed consistently.
At Jerez the Aprilia riders were able to gain familiarity with the new V4 powerplant for the first time, an engine characterised by pneumatic valves. The engine, which guarantees higher levels of power than the first version with conventional valves, made its début on Wednesday since the work on Tuesday centred around fine tuning the electronics and set up with the old version.
131 laps were logged in Alvaro Bautista’s ‘three days’, with his best time stopping the clock at 1’40.6, whereas Melandri lapped 123 times, putting in a 1’41.5 for his best time.
There is still a long road of growth ahead, but the indications that came out during the tests on the Andalusian track left the entire Aprilia team satisfied and feeling positive as they head into the winter break. Testing will resume on 4 February with the official session in Malaysia on the Sepang track.
Romano Albesiano: “Despite the poor weather we collected a lot of information, mostly positive. This was our first chance to get in some extensive use of the new pneumatic valves engine which proved to be quite promising both in terms of maximum power and manageability, despite all the work that still needs to be done on a mapping level. Alvaro continues to increase his engagement with Aprilia in a positive way, in terms of performance as well, although there is still plenty of room for improvement. As for Marco, he is continuing his apprenticeship on the Bridgestone tyres, a rather complex issue that would have needed the full three days of testing so one that will have to be postponed to the next tests in Sepang.”
Alvaro Bautista: “We can be satisfied with the way things went, even if the foul weather slowed down our work. During the first day I continued using the bike in the same configuration as the recent tests in Valencia. We concentrated on the chassis set up, finding a few solutions that I liked and the allowed us to get to know the bike fully. On the second day I was able to use the new pneumatic valve engine. It has a lot of power but there is still a lot of work to do in terms of distributing it. Today we took a few laps in the wet which were useful in any case to assess the characteristics of the new engine in these conditions. Now we will start the winter break. I’ll take a bit of a rest to recover from this long season, after which I’ll get back to training so that I’m ready for the tests in February. In the meantime I will definitely be paying a visit to Aprilia to see the hard work the engineers are doing on the bike up close and in person.”
Marco Melandri: “These were three interesting and very demanding days at the same time. Lap after lap I am figuring out more and more where I need to improve and what I need in order to feel at ease. I still feel quite self-conscious. I think we’ll need to put in a few kilometres to find the right feeling. The new engine had a few growing pains, which is normal in this phase, but we have already seen what its positive sides are and where we will need to concentrate on improving it. We have a long period of down time ahead of use which we’ll use for development so that we’re ready for the Sepang tests. All the guys are working hard and the whole team is very enthusiastic. This is an atmosphere that gives me high hopes.”