|With a little over a week to go before the start of the 2018 MotoGP Season, Aprilia MotoGP squad presented their upgraded challenger, the Aprilia RS GP, and riders line-up. Riders this season comprise of Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding.|
The final part of the season was a turning point for Aprilia. The sixth place earned by Espargaró at Aragón with a gap of less than six seconds behind the winner, followed immediately by performance in Japan (fourth in qualifying) and Australia (best time at the end of the first day of practice) highlighted clear progress, then halted by the unfortunate injury Espargaró suffered as he was battling in the lead group during the Phillip Island GP.
For the 2018 season, Aprilia is keen to pick up from there, from a bike that maintains the same construction philosophy as its forerunner, but refined and advanced in every aspect and with an extremely motivated pair of riders. Espargaró is paired with Redding, the British rider who’s into his fifth MotoGP season; the first on a factory team. “Last year we rode some very good races and only a few mistakes compromised our final position in the standings. I have great confidence for 2018. The team has worked well and the new RS-GP is growing in the right direction. All of our rivals have improved a lot. MotoGP is a top level championship, but I am certain that we will be close to the top. I am a positive person. I prepared well for this new season and I believe in the direction we are going, ” Espargaro commented.
Redding added, “We have managed to improve consistently with every outing, also experimenting with some solutions that were a gamble, but always with specific goals. It is difficult for me to make predictions right now. I am still adapting to the RS-GP and at the same time we have undertaken development of the 2018 model. In any case, I am positive. Thanks to the last tests in Qatar, we have taken another step forward, narrowing the gap behind the leaders, so I am confident as we approach the first race.”
2018 Aprilia RS-GP: Updated and ready
The work done by Aprilia Racing has involved every aspect of the RS-GP. A brand new frame led to a complete repositioning of the masses and therefore a new weight distribution, perhaps one of the clearest aspects but one that is fundamentally important in defining the dynamic performance of modern MotoGP bikes. The airbox and exhaust are also new, called on to optimize the performance of the exclusive narrow V4, which was also upgraded. Also in the chassis architecture, some big changes were made with a new front suspension and the carbon swingarm which will be further developed during the season.
Confirmation of the project’s technical maturity came during the pre-season tests, during which the riders passed the 2018 version of the RS-GP with flying colors. The development direction taken has therefore been confirmed and it draws from the experience of one of the most victorious racing departments ever, backed by 54 titles earned in all motorcycling disciplines and now highly motivated to do well in the premier class of this 2018 championship season, starting 18 March at the Losail track in Qatar.