Saturday, August 8

APRILIA TAILORS MOTOGP BIKE FOR BRADL

Red Bull sponsored Stefan Bradl on the Aprilia RS-GP at the Brickyard for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
After the incarceration of the boss of the Forward Racing Yamaha team (see here, here and here), German Stefan Bradl's management quickly found him a new home with the Gresini Racing Aprilia team and he had his first try-out on the RSV4 derived RS-GP Italian machine in the first day of practice at Indianapolis.

Not surprisingly, the team spent much of its time with Bradl adapting the bike to suit his physique and personal preferences.

In the first session Bradl achieved a best lap of 1m 36.444s, well down on new team-mate Alvaro Bautista's 1m 35.066s effort but that session was more about getting him comfortable on the bikes.
The first laps allowed Bradl to gain familiarity with the bike and the team, limiting himself to making small changes in the set-up.  A lot of attention was focused on ergonomics, the position of the footpegs and the handlebar as well as the conformation of the saddle in order to find a comfortable triangulation. 
Bradl easing into it on the Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP machine, which is based
on the road-going RSV4.
The opinion at the end of the first day was definitely positive: Bradl found a serious bike with predictable reactions, particularly liking the electronics and the seamless gearbox. His twentieth final time, two seconds behind the top time, is as encouraging as his improvement of about 1.5 seconds between the two sessions.
Bradl recorded a best lap of 1m 34.935s in the second session, which ended up being better that what Bautista (1:35.284) achieved.
Bautista is continuing his development work, bringing to the track his usual professional determination.  After an initial session to size up the situation, testing the new asphalt and identifying a base set-up, in the afternoon session Bautista and his team began searching for better traction and solutions to improve performance in turns.  The last lap on new tyres should have provided an idea as to the level the Aprilia RS-GP had reached but his efforts went up in smoke due to the traffic that characterises the end of every session. 

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“It was a good start for Bradl. He found a good pace straight away. Making a debut directly on a race weekend is really quite a complicated thing but he did a great job.  He is very analytical in the way he describes the way the bike performs. Alvaro was unfortunately slowed by traffic on his lap with a new tyre and that keeps us from making an accurate assessment of his performance.  In any case I expect that it is up to the same standards as recent races."

FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“We can be satisfied with this first day because Stefan performed very well straight away in his debut on the RS-GP, providing some positive feedback.  Alvaro also did a good job and the fact that he was unable to improve in the afternoon session was basically because he was slowed down in his final attempts at a flying lap. We have strengthened the team without a doubt and today was certainly a good start. Now we just need to stay focused and work on the bike with a view to the future.”

ALVARO BAUTISTA

“This morning we began our work which was supposed to continue in the afternoon,  in particular looking for more grip on the rear and a way to make the RS-GP perform better all around . We tried a few solutions that helped, whereas a new swing-arm didn't give us the results we had expected . I went back to the setting I was most comfortable with and I went out with just a few minutes left in the second session, but in the two laps I took I ran into a lot of traffic and was unable to take advantage of my tyres. Tomorrow we'll keep going in this direction as we need to improve the setup .”

STEFAN BRADL
“I'm very happy with the work we did today. This morning I took on an entirely new situation: I was able to see how very professional the team is and that gave me a lot of confidence.  Obviously it's still early to make any kind of real assessment with just two sessions under our belts but the work done today was definitely positive and the bike's basic performance is good so I'm pleased.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us: tomorrow we'll have to try and stay focused because we'll need to continue working on a lot of aspects but I think we will be able to improve going forward step by step.  I will also need to be careful because I am still feeling a bit of pain in my right wrist but that is not bothering my riding at the moment.  I hope it doesn't get worse but it won't be easy anyway because I've been out of the saddle for six weeks.”

With 13 points in the MotoGP championship so far this season, Alvaro Bautista is just a point behind the Forward Racing Yamaha of Loris Baz and one ahead of Aussie MotoGP rookie Jack Miller (Honda).  Aprilia moved its MotoGP programme up a year so it could have the benefit of testing the new for 2016 Michelin tyres with the other MotoGP teams this year.