THE FINAL TESTS AHEAD OF THE MOTOGP SEASON ARE CONCLUDED AT LOSAIL.
RACE SIMULATION FOR ESPARGARÓ AND NEW SETUP TESTS FOR IANNONE.
SMITH CONSISTENTLY AT WORK FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE RS-GP.
The third day on the track concluded the final tests ahead of the race which, right here on the Qatar circuit, will open the 2019 season. For the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini these were three days of extremely intense work, moving forward according as scheduled by the three teams participating.
For Iannone, these were the first true work sessions astride the RS-GP. Andrea progressively increased his confidence with the bike, session after session, and today he lowered his time even more (he finished with 1’55.343) but more than anything, he worked constantly with a view to the race, choosing, along with the team, which direction to go to define the settings that he will use at the Losail opener in just two weeks.
Aleix Espargaró, after the good sensations yesterday with a flying lap that earned him sixth place for the day, focused today on a race simulation, 22 laps which - as had already happened in Sepang at the beginning of the month - put the fledgling 2019 RS-GP to the test, highlighting the qualities of the bike compared to last year's version, as well as the rough edges that still need to be smoothed out. The large amount of data collected will now be used to prepare for the opening race. Aleix finished the day with a best time of 1’55.814.
Over the three days in Losail, the test team and Bradley Smith were able to complete a significant workload of trials, working both on race pace and on more long-term goals such as chassis settings - including electronics - to then pass on to the factory riders.
It is a nice sign that Bradley also improved his lap times consistently. In fact, of the 35 laps he turned today, his best time was 1’56.072.
"Today we had a true race simulation planned to prepare the base for the first race. I was obviously unable to be fast on the flying lap like I was yesterday, but that was definitely not the goal. It was also important because we brought to light a few things that need to be sorted for the race. That is why you do the simulations and now the engineers will have a large amount of data to work on. The 2019 RS-GP is significantly better than the 2018 version. Now we need to work to make the bike fast throughout the entire race distance."
"Today was the most positive day of this test session. I am not focusing on the standings. We had another tyre available to do a time attack, but I think that it is more important to keep working on the RS-GP. Our priority is to arrive at the race with a bike that is more manageable and to successfully improve turning - aspects we need to focus on. I generally don’t make predictions and I like to keep my feet on the ground. We'll need to take full advantage of the technical package we have available to us and then draw the sums at the end of the race."
"I think that the package Aprilia has for the season start is good. These were three days of rather intense tests. I worked both on solutions to use already here in Qatar and on developments focused on the mid to long-term. This latter aspect kept me rather busy. In two weeks I’ll be on the track in a wild card slot, but I think that improving the RS-GP over the long term is the most important thing. I kept the guys on the team busy, both with the many changes and with a little crash today, but I have to say that they did a fantastic job."