Courtesy of MotoGP
The Factory Aprilia Gresini outfit continued its pre-season preparations for 2015 in Jerez this week, as Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri took to the track on the new V4 featuring its pneumatic valve engine. The test was wrapped up on Thursday.
The outing marked the second for Aprilia, with the first having been the opening pre-season test which came immediately after the Grand Prix of Valencia. On this occasion the weather affected the course of the testing programme, especially on the final day, with continuous bursts of rain which ensured the track was constantly wet.
“Despite the bad weather, we have gathered a lot of information – mostly positive,” explained Aprilia’s Romano Albesiano. “This was the first opportunity for extensive use of the pneumatic valve engine, which has proven very promising in terms of maximum power and manageability. Despite this, there remains a lot of work in terms of mapping settings. Alvaro continued to adapt to the Aprilia in a positive fashion but, as is always the case, there is still room for improvement. As for Marco, he continued his apprenticeship with the Bridgestone tyres – a rather complex issue over these days and something we will continue to look into when we get to Sepang.”
For the first time, the riders were able to get a feel for the new V4 engine, complete with pneumatic valve technology. The engine is more powerful than its predecessor and debuted on Wednesday, as on the first day Aprilia had focused on electronics and setups. Bautista completed 131 laps over the course of the three days, with a best lap time of 1’40.6. Melandri put in 123 laps and his best time came in the form of 1’41.5.
“We can be satisfied with how it went, even though the weather slowed our progress,” Bautista reported. “I continued to use the bike in the same configuration as the Valencia test. We focused on the chassis, finding some solutions that I liked which allowed us to learn more about the bike. I was able to use the new pneumatic valve engine from the second day; the power is great but there is still work to do. We did a few laps in the wet today (Thursday) but we still need to learn more about how this engine works in such conditions. Now the winter break begins, so we will detach a little from work to recover from a long season and then come back to train and be ready. In the meantime, I will definitely be at the Aprilia factory to see up close and personal all of the great work the technicians are doing on the bike.”
The Aprilia riders will regroup as testing resumes in Malaysia on 4th February.