Both riders took the covers off the brand new Aprilia RS-GP ahead of the Qatar Test, the Italian brand ready to take to the track.
On the eve of the final official MotoGP™ test, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini unveiled their new MotoGP™ prototype machine. For the Italian team this is a fundamental step in the project that began in 2015, as the new Aprilia RS-GP is not an evolution of the previous model but an entirely redesigned prototype based on the knowledge gained during the season last year, characterised by experimentation and data acquisition. It is the first true MotoGP™ bike built by Aprilia.
Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl made a fundamental contribution to the development of the new project as they conducted the 2015 "laboratory-season" on the track. Bautisita and Bradl had the chance to familiarise themselves with the 2016 RS-GP during the previous private tests on the Losail circuit, immediately recognising its great potential. The brand new technical package, which is joined by the new tyre supplier and the controlled electronics package, requires a fine-tuning phase before they can arrive fully, but the feeling during the first two tests made them solidly optimistic about the new season.
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager: “The upcoming season will be a very important one for us. The new bike reflects recent Aprilia Racing tradition, reinterpreting every concept without compromise, and it is the most ambitious project our racing department has ever undertaken. The first responses from testing have been positive. We received very positive feedback from both riders specifically from a dynamics point of view. In any case, this is the beginning of a long path and we are well aware of the inevitable difficulties that come along with any new project.
“We can count on the contribution of an expert team and two highly motivated riders like Alvaro and Stefan, who immediately realised the importance of our development plan and the great efforts put forth by the racing department. I believe that, after the initial fine-tuning phase, we'll be able to set our sights on respectable results."
Alvaro Bautista: “This season will be a new challenge, my second year with Aprilia. We'll be able to rely on our experience from 2015. We aren't starting from zero, but in any case we'll have to develop a completely new bike. I think that Aprilia has very clear ideas about what they can expect this season. In any case, it will be a big challenge because we'll have to work hard on race weekends since we have done very little testing. We'll need to be good at streamlining things. To be honest, it would be nice to be competitive around the mid-season mark. It's difficult to predict now because there are so many things that need to be sorted, but I'm confident because during the winter break Aprilia did a great job with the data gathered in 2015. I'm pumped up and I want to have a good season, getting back into the battle for top positions, but I am under no illusions. With patience, hard work and sacrifice we can do it.”
Stefan Bradl: “The first contact with the new bike was definitely positive, despite the fact that it's still too early to take a position. The Aprilia Racing techs did a great job in the right direction. Now our job will be to explore the potential of the RS-GP lap after lap. We really have a lot on our plate, but we also have a wide margin for improvement. Along with the new bike, we also have the new electronics and tyres, aspects that we had already begun working on but that still require a lot of development. We won't be bored, that much is certain. For the first time in my career I'm working on an official team with the job of developing a new project. I think that this is the greatest condition possible for a rider who wants to set his sights on staying out front."
Fausto Gresini, Team Manager: “In recent months, Aprilia Racing staff at Noale and everyone on the Gresini Racing team have put forth an incredible effort on the technical and organisational front. We never stopped. We have a great desire to demonstrate our full potential and we are highly motivated as we approach the first Grand Prix. The Aprilia Racing technicians have taken advantage of the experience gained last year and all their precious know-how to create a prototype ready to battle in a MotoGP season that promises to be even more heated and exciting."
Roberto Colaninno, CEO and Managing Director of the Piaggio Group: “From a Group strategy point of view, Aprilia Racing is not just the Aprilia racing team: it is the most advanced technological experimentation and development platform for the entire Piaggio Group from which all of our products and brands benefit. For this reason, from this 2016 season the Piaggio Group logo stands out prominently on the bikes' livery. In fact, the technology developed for racing operations is not intended only for racing, but it also serves the purpose of testing innovative solutions that will then be applied to road-legal products, from supersport bikes all the way to scooters, with the end goal of improving our products in terms of performance, safety and the ability to provide our customers with riding pleasure and fun.”