The Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas brings back pleasant memories for Aprilia. In 2016, the début year for the new Italian MotoGP bike, it was at the COTA that two RS-GP machines finished in the points. But recent history would indicate that the third race of this season can be approached with even higher ambitions. The 2017 RS-GP machines have shown tangible progress in the first two rounds, placing consistently with Aleix Espargaró among the group of riders battling for a top-6 finish.
In Argentina, only an unlucky crash kept Aprilia Racing Team Gresini and the Spanish rider from a grand finish to a weekend where they had been protagonists up to that point.
So this is the situation as the American MotoGP weekend kicks off on the spectacular 5.5 km COTA track. A complete circuit that demands a lot of work on the setup in order to achieve the best possible compromise. An indicative test bench for the 2017 Aprilia RS-GP.
“I can’t wait to race in Austin. With the crash in Argentina, we missed a good opportunity to finish in the top-5. In America we will work hard to continue our positive trend. I have a lot of faith in my bike and in the team, plus I like this place and the circuit, so I am keen to begin the weekend the right way and finish the race on Sunday with the best possible result.”
“Austin is one of my favourite tracks. I won my first race here and I finished second last year. I feel like I took a positive step in Argentina in terms of the feeling on the bike and I want to keep that going this weekend too. Let’s just hope that the weather is stable so we can work well in every practice session.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“The COTA is a rather complete circuit with a demanding flowing part where the chassis architecture needs to be dialled in perfectly and a long straight starting from low speed that puts the anti-wheelie control to a hard test. From a technical point of view, we have a few new items in terms of engine intake management, so I expect that we will be able to improve performance. As for everything else, we will work as we did in the first two race weekends, focusing both on pace and on performance for qualifying and the first few laps of the race.”
FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER
“In this race, our goal is once again to confirm our progress. Deep in my heart I know what our level is, but I always wait for the final feedback of the track to remove all doubt. It is fundamental for us to arrive at the European races with the right confidence, both for the staff at Aprilia so they can have a clear idea for development and for the team. Aleix has shown that he is an extraordinary rider and he has an excellent feeling with the RS-GP, as well as the ability to convey confidence to the team. I expect a step forward in terms of competitiveness for Sam so that he can begin to show his true value.”