ANDREA IANNONE AND THE RS-GP TAKE THEIR FIRST STEPS TOGETHER
ESPARGARÓ DOES WELL TAKING AN UPGRADED ENGINE ONTO THE TRACK SUCCESSFULLY
BRADLEY SMITH ALSO MAKES HIS DÉBUT ON APRILIA AS THE NEW TEST TEAM RIDER
The first day of the long-awaited post-season MotoGP tests, which actually kick off the 2019 season, had a brilliant Aleix Espargaró taking an upgraded engine onto the track and Andrea Iannone starting to get to know his new team and, above all, his RS-GP.
Even in Aleix's garage, there was no lack of changes. A new crew chief (Antonio Jimenez) and numerous team changes, including the new electronics engineer, Gianluca Giorgini, came in addition to the upgrade steps on the RS-GP that the number 41 rider took out onto the track. At the end of the day, the feedback on both aspects was positive. Aleix also finished in a good position with the seventh best time of 1'32,095, less than seven tenths behind the best time of the day.
Andrea Iannone was busy setting up the bike and getting to know his new team for a long time, which is rather normal for the first day in a new camp. Partially due to the rain, which actually brought the tests to a halt more than an hour earlier than planned, Andrea did not turn very many laps (15) and he'll have to wait until tomorrow to take his RS-GP closer to the limit in order to find indications on the next evolutions of the Italian bike.
On his first day of testing, Bradley Smith also made his début on Aprilia (17 laps for him) as the new Aprilia Racing test team rider. This is the new and improved structure which, thanks in part to the contribution of the British rider, will have to support the young Aprilia project in its growth.
"These tests started off on the right foot. In addition to the technical upgrades, there were some new faces in my garage: crew chief Antonio Jimenez and electronics engineer Gianluca Giorgini. From this point of view, the initial impact was more than good. The engine upgrade that I tested today also had some positive sides, especially in terms of power distribution management. This is an aspect that should let us be more effective in conditions with very used tyres, in other words, in the final laps which are often the decisive ones in the race. In any case, I want to delve farther and compare the different configurations calmly in order to avoid any rushed decisions."
"I'm satisfied with the first approach with the new team and the new bike, although this was a shakedown. As a tester, I'll need to do a different job than Aleix and Andrea, but my goal is still to go as fast as possible and contribute to improving the Aprilia. A more detailed balance sheet will only be possible after doing a good number of laps, both here and in the next tests in Jerez."