The brand new Aprilia RS-GP prototype has made its debut in the hands of factory riders Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista at the Losail circuit in Qatar. The press release is very light on detail, other than mentioning that the 2016 bike, a brand new machine designed from the ground up, was a big improvement on the 2015 machine. The lack of detail is hardly surprising, the entire test was shrouded in secrecy, with even normally well-informed sources not being able to extract any information.
Phillip Island is arguably the greatest race track for motorcycles in the world. It is a circuit where every racer wants to race, where every trackday rider wants to cut some laps, where every race fan wants to visit. There are a million reasons to visit Phillip Island, all of them good.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the final day of testing at Sepang:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Wraps Up Sepang Test on Top
Despite the changeable weather, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi completed the three-day test at the Sepang International Circuit topping the standings with a perfect 1-2.
What did we learn from the first proper MotoGP test of the new era of Michelin tires and spec electronics? More than we hoped, yet less than we think. A quick run down on the state of play after Sepang, with more to come over the following days.
Press releases from the teams after the second day of testing at Sepang:
Development work continues for Repsol Honda Team on day 2 of Malaysia test
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa took to the track this morning for the second day of testing at Sepang International Circuit, where Marc was quickly able to knock almost one and half seconds off his best lap from the opening day. Just an hour into the session, all action stopped following a massive crash by Loris Baz (who escaped unhurt), prompting a red flag that remained in place for over an hour.
Press releases after the first day of testing at Sepang:
Tech3 pair back on track as 2016 preparation kicks off
Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith were back on board their Yamaha YZR-M1’s today at the first day of action in Malaysia as they rode their first laps of the year after the winter break which lasted for two months. Both riders eagerly began working on setting up this year’s Yamaha MotoGP bike together with the new electronics package and the Michelin tyres, with the opening findings being positive.
The hour of truth is at hand. On Monday morning, MotoGP fans will get their very first look at how the 2016 season is really going to look like. We got a glimpse at Valencia, but it was not a uniform picture. Though the 2016 electronics and Michelin tires made their debut at the two-day test after the final race of 2015, there were still too many variables. Everyone was on the Michelins, but some riders were on the spec electronics, others were on the old proprietary software they had been using for the 2015 season, and the factory teams were using a mixture of both.
Aprilia's MotoGP project has suffered a setback. The 2016 version of their RS-GP MotoGP machine will not be ready in time for the first official IRTA test at Sepang, according to a report by Crash.net's Neil Morrison. Instead, it will make its debut in a private test at Qatar, ahead of the third preseason test of 2016, with its first public outing coming in that third and final test, two weeks before the start of the 2016 season.
The final part of our review of the 2015 season, takes a look at the riders at the bottom end of the championship. Though they finished well behind the leaders, the list still contains some big names and interesting stories. Near the top are the Aprilias of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, as well as the surprising Loris Baz. There is the tough times faced by the Open class Honda riders, including Nicky Hayden and Jack Miller. And at the bottom, the men gritting their teeth through injury, including Alex De Angelis and Karel Abraham.
So, testing is over and the winter test ban can start. Riders who intend to race in 2016 are banned from testing between 1st December 2015 and 31st January 2016. Engineers now have a long winter ahead of them to try to make sense of the data gathered at the test at Valencia and Jerez, or else send their test riders out in the chill of winter, as Aprilia intend to do at Jerez in a few weeks. Those engineers have an awful lot of work ahead of them.