Max Biaggi tests with Aprilia WSBK
The weather certainly did not help, but the Aprilia-Red Devils Superbike team leaves Portimão with the great satisfaction of having added another important piece to the puzzle in preparation for the 2015 World Championship. With a completely new rider line-up and the 2015 version of the RSV4, there is a lot of work to be done to turn up in optimum form at the first race in Australia. Yesterday the riders only went out for a brief run due to the extremely unpredictable weather conditions, whereas this afternoon they were able to take advantage of about 4 hours of dry track.
Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres, who will be astride the RSV4, reigning World Champion bike, continue their learning curve and have already responded well in terms of their feeling with the bike. Haslam, an expert and fast rider, finished the two days in the lead for the bikes with transponders fitted, stating that he was satisfied and excited about the upcoming season. He put in a total of 59 laps, stopping the clock on his best lap at 1’43.5.
Jordi Torres was also smiling, on his absolute maiden run (new bike, new category, new tyres and new circuit) and gaining familiarity with his RSV4, finishing out his tests with 75 laps, doing 1’45.9 on the best one.
Max Biaggi was also on the track as an Aprilia test rider. Despite a harmless crash on some tricky asphalt because of the rain at the end of the first day, the 6 time world champion finished out the testing schedule with a total of 47 laps.
The Aprilia-Red Devils Superbike team will take to the track again on Monday and Tuesday for another two days of testing at Jerez de la Frontera.
Leon Haslam: “The weather definitely wasn’t kind to us for these tests but I’m quite pleased anyway. This afternoon we were fast and I can tell that my feeling with the RSV4 is increasing lap by lap. There is still a lot of work to be done and I can’t wait to get back on the track in Jerez to continue our progress and make sure we’re in good form for the beginning of the season.”
Jordi Torres: “I can’t help but be pleased with our work today. We took the best possible advantage of a half a day on a dry track. The feeling is good, the bike is working great and the team is perfect. Now we need to get in as many laps as possible. I need to get used to new tyres, a new bike and, here in Portimão on an unfamiliar track too. Finishing the tests just a couple seconds behind an expert and fast rider like Leon boosts my confidence. Now let’s just hope we can put in some good times at Jerez so we can keep growing.”
Max Biaggi: “We really did not have a lot of time, especially when you consider the fact that the crash yesterday limited me a bit today. We’re still not at optimum performance levels, but we have already started working on a few details. I’m picking the automatism back up. It’s always great to get back on the track, but I have to get used to it again. I need to lap, so I hope we have nice weather in Jerez to do a good job.”
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Technical and Sport Manager: “Unfortunately the weather conditions put a damper on these tests. We would have liked to lap more and take home more information. The good news is Leon’s time results with a bike that is still wet behind the ears in terms of mapping and Jordi’s start who, without any knowledge of the bike and track, was still able to work well. Today was also the maiden run for the new team structure in collaboration with Red Devils. This year we will be active in two championships so we are still working out an organisation that will allow us to divide our forces the best possible way. Even Max, despite the troubles yesterday, was also able to make an important contribution.”
Andrea Petricca, Red Devils: “I’m really quite pleased with the way Leon and Jordi performed. Despite the unfavourable conditions they did a great job. Haslam is no surprise. Even at Jerez during the last tests he showed his potential astride the RSV4 RF and here is continued the same trend. Torres surprised me. On a track that he didn’t know he showed encouraging progress and I’m sure that in the next test, just a few days away, he’ll be able to grow even more.”
Crescent Suzuki was also on track for its first test of 2015 but similarly report that bad weather hampered their progress, allowing racers Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet just a handful of laps aboard their 2015-spec Yoshimura-powered GSX-R1000s.
Lowes completed around 50 dry-laps of the Portuguese circuit – setting a best unofficial time of 1’44.0 – while his new French team-mate circulated for around 40 laps, with a best of 1’45.7, while learning the track lay-out.
Despite initial expectations regarding the weather conditions, the Crescent Suzuki team completed a detailed programme – with the 2015-spec engine working well – and allowing testing to extend to new clutch parts and rider set-up.
The Crescent Suzuki team now travels to Jerez, in Southern Spain, to continue the progress during its second and final private test scheduled for Monday January 26th.