AS WE WAIT FOR THE THREE DAYS OF TESTS IN THAILAND, SCHEDULED FROM 16 THROUGH 18 FEBRUARY, IT'S TIME TO DRAW SUMS AFTER THE FIRST TESTS OF THE SEASON IN SEPANG
In the Aprilia camp, there were great expectations for the début of the new RS-GP machines in the 2018 version. It was even more of a change for Scott Redding, astride the Italian V4 for the first time.
After initial contact in November at Valencia and Jerez with the 2017 bike, the English rider had a chance to test the 2018 RS-GP in Malaysia. This is the perfect time to make a preliminary analysis of the beginning of this new adventure on the Italian team.
What do you think of the new Aprilia RS-GP?
"The test in Malaysia has been a sort of shakedown, we had the new bike and I haven't been riding the Aprilia since Jerez. At the beginning, when we simply put the 2017 setting on the 2018 bike, it didn't work for me. For Aleix it wasn't a big difference, but he has a lot more experience on this bike. We started to work on that, even experimenting, to make me feel comfortable on the bike. At the end of the three days I was happy, we found some solutions that we'll keep using and, most important, we found the direction to work on for the future. I've been faster every day, cutting the gap with the front guys and I feel there's still a lot of room for improvements".
You're young but you already have a great experience in MotoGP, is it helping you developing a new bike like the RS-GP?
"I have a good experience but not with a factory bike. I have a good ability to feel the bike and to explain the people developing the Aprilia RS-GP. It's the first time I've been given the tools to be able do that and that motivates me a lot, I feel really in my place. I have a unique riding style compared to many other riders, I'm bigger, heavier, and now that I can go a little bit in the right direction for me we'll see what we can do".
How has it been the first approach with the team?
"It's been good, I felt great from the first day. I have a good crew around me, very supportive and very straight down the line of what I need. In Sepang I think we found the right connection, the guys are starting to understand what I like on the bike and what I need to be fast. I feel all of the Aprilia guys believe in me and that's what I was looking for. I'm really happy to have this opportunity".
What is your goal for this season?
"To keep going forward, developing the Aprilia, working a lot in testing with the new bike. I want to put the Aprilia in the top-6, last year Aleix has shown that it is a result within our reach and I think the new bike has even more potential, there are still some new parts coming like the new engine. We still have some testing to do, after that my main priority will be to keep improving the bike race by race ad try to be as competitive as possible".