ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE 2018 PRE-SEASON?
Albesiano: “I’d say so. The new RS-GP performed well. We found no technical problems and, albeit with obvious room for improvement, we are overall at a good level in terms of preparation for the season start.”
Gresini: “Yes, because the RS-GP has undoubtedly improved compared to the 2017 model and both riders liked it straight away. The guys at Aprilia did a great job. Obviously, the level of the competition has risen but we are not far off at all, especially in terms of race pace.”
From left: Scott Redding and Aleix Espargaro’ with the new Aprilia RS-GP 2018.
ALEIX WAS ALREADY ON THE TEAM AND SCOTT IS A NEW ENTRY. WHAT WERE YOUR IMPRESSIONS?
Albesiano: “We are familiar with Aleix's great strength and determination. For him, as for us, this season represents an important exam in an even more competitive setting. It will not be an easy challenge, but both team and rider have all their papers in order to be successful. Scott was a pleasant surprise, both in terms of the speed he demonstrated and because of the work method that he has set up with us. In spite of his young age, he has a lot of experience in MotoGP. He is very appreciative of the attention and support that comes with factory treatment. Motivation is very high for both riders.”
Gresini: “Aleix, in his second year with Aprilia, will be able to take advantage of the experience he gained last season, where he learned to work with a new team and a new bike. He adapted quickly and allowed us to bring home some important results, further motivating the team thanks to his grit. Scott, for the first time, has the support of a factory team. He is still very young, but he has a lot of experience in MotoGP. We have already had the chance to sample his professional attitude and his technical prowess in the tests where he advanced development of the 2018 RS-GP impeccably.”
HOW FAR CAN THIS RS-GP GO?
Albesiano: “We'll be able to tell better after the first races. We certainly expect this to be a very heated championship where you cannot make even the smallest mistake. I expect consistent growth from Aprilia throughout the season, as already happened in 2016 and 2017. The goal is still to battle for a position in the top-5 regularly.”
Gresini: “Hard to say right now. Given the gaps, in this MotoGP championship, being in the top-10 means being just behind the leaders. From there, moving up a few positions is a question of a few tenths of a second.”
WHERE IS THERE STILL ROOM TO GROW?
Albesiano: “The biggest area where there is room to grow at the moment has to do with ‘fire power’. Being a relatively small racing department, but one with extraordinary skill, we are able to cook up a lot of interesting ideas. If we had a few more elements, we would be able to create them more quickly. In such a tight competition, the speed with which the concepts developed in the racing department get to the track becomes fundamental. We are also working on this front to take another step forward.”
Gresini: “We don't have any outstanding weak points, but we always need to be critical to grow. I think that in our case it is a question of combining all the aspects well, from organisation to bike weight. A refinement job, if you can define it as such.”
AT THE END OF THE YEAR, YOU’LL BE HAPPY IF…
Albesiano: “If our two riders are in the top-10 of the championship standings, with a few top-5 finishes during the season. These are reasonable goals and then, if there should be some surprises...”
Gresini: “A top-8 as a final season result would leave me satisfied, because that would mean having achieved great results during the championship and consolidating our level.”
(Aprilia Racing, Noale, Italy, 8 March 2018).