Aprilia: the ones to watch?
Suzuki aren’t the only manufacturer to have a new and improved machine for 2016, with Aprilia finally rolling out their brand new RS-GP machine at the final test of the winter at Qatar.
A brand new bike built from the ground up as a Motogp prototype, the machine is wholly different from the one Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista rode in 2015 – which was essentially a heavily modified former CRT entry RSV4 World Superbike machine.
For 2016 they’ll have a full factory race bike, built in-house by a team of 70 and the culmination of Aprilia’s most ambitious project ever, according to racing manager Romano Albesiano.
“The first responses from testing have been positive. We received very positive feedback from both riders specifically from a team dynamics
Almost counter-intuitively, the lack of development Suzuki managed on their own in-house electronics last year has turned to their advantage for 2016 with the switch to control software. Already working with a system nowhere near as advanced as that of their rivals, it’s meant that the transition to the new software (which Valentino Rossi has compared to 2009-spec Yamaha electronics) has been much less steep for Suzuki, allowing them to make up
the difference quickly.
Possibly the revelation of 2016 pre-season testing is the huge leap Suzuki have made with the GSX-RR’S engine. Widely accepted last year to be 30-40bhp down on Honda and Yamaha (never mind the ultra-powerful Ducati), they’ve played catch-up over the winter. Even Viñales
himself was blown away at Phillip Island, after getting a chance to taste the new speed when he ended up in the slipstream of Rossi, telling MCN afterwards that it was the first time he’d felt able to pass another factory bike on a straight. It’ll be crucial at the ultra-fast opening round at Qatar and its long straights – but if Viñales’ pace in testing is anything to go by, Suzuki
will be laughing.