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Losail (Qatar), 3 March 2018 – The final tests before the start of the 2018 MotoGP Championship, also in Qatar, have just come to a close. For Aprilia these were three important days which provided comforting responses on the level of the new 2018 RS-GP, especially in terms of race pace, as demonstrated by the long-run done by Aleix Espargaró and Scott Redding.

Both riders worked on refinements in view of the race, turning laps with used tyres to improve the performance of their RS-GP machines, a bike for which consistency over several laps is traditionally one of its strong points.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’ (bike no. 41): "I can’t wait to be back here in two weeks to really get to work. The tests are important but I’m happier when it’s a race. This year things will be even more interesting because all the teams and riders will be at a very high level.

I gave it my best during this pre-season to improve the 2018 RS-GP. It was a pity that a small problem kept me from finishing the race simulation. The truth is that the winter tests are often deceiving. There are a lot of riders who manage to do some fast laps but values will change in the race. I believe in our potential and I am confident that we will be battling for the top 8 straight away".

SCOTT REDDING (bike no. 45): "We made a nice step forward again today with a few changes that increased my confidence straight away. I did another long run today and I was fast. I felt good on the bike and with a used tyre I did the same time that I had done yesterday with a new tyre.

The RS-GP continues to perform very well with the tyres and that is something that has always been a problem for me in the past, whereas even with the soft tyre and a lot of laps I am able to be incisive and that makes me confident for the race".

DAY 2: PROGRESS CONTINUES FOR THE APRILIA MACHINES AT LOSAIL. GOOD SENSATIONS FOR ESPARGARÓ AND REDDING ON THE SECOND DAY OF TESTS. Losail (Qatar), 2 March 2018 – In the Aprilia garage, the work programme is divided, but the sensations at the end of the second day of tests in Qatar are similar. In fact, both Espargaró and Redding are satisfied with the way the tests are going, the last ones before the season opener.

Espargaró went out on the track with different chassis settings looking for more confidence on the Losail asphalt and his feeling at the end of the day satisfied the Spanish rider. Tomorrow Aleix will work toward improving, especially in braking and acceleration, before doing a race simulation long run. This is a simulation that Scott Redding did toward the end of the session today, completing about 15 laps with excellent times and consistency. The new entry in the Aprilia camp confirmed the quality of the Italian V4 in terms of proper tyre wear management, able to use a soft tyre on several laps without evident signs of deterioration.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’ (bike no. 41): "We have to be happy. We are making progress and working hard. I still don’t feel like I’m at my best braking, but overall I am satisfied with the way the tests are going. We are struggling to take full advantage of the new tyre for a fast lap, but we are competitive in terms of pace. I am very curious to see my race simulation tomorrow and what the others will do in order to have a more concrete idea of what our potential could be over race distance. As for what we’ve seen up to now, and counting on improving more, I think that we will be able to demonstrate a good pace".

SCOTT REDDING (bike no. 45): "Today we weren’t focusing on lap times, but we worked to prepare for the final long run. I had done one in Thailand that did not satisfy me, whereas here, despite starting later than race time, things went rather well. The times and the easy ride satisfied me, although there is still work to be done in order to increase the edge grip. I used a soft tyre on the rear, which is new for me, and I was surprised at how good condition it was in at the end and how my feeling improved lap after lap".

DAY 1: THE FIRST TEST DAY IN QATAR CONCLUDED. GOOD START FOR ALEIX ESPARGARO' AND SCOTT REDDING. Losail (Qatar), 1° March 2018 – The artificial lights of the Circuit of Losail, in Qatar, are the background to the last test before the start of the MotoGP World Championship. The first of the three days available saw great work at the Aprilia box, where two RS-GPs 2018 were set up for both Aleix Espargaro' and Scott Redding. After conducting comparative tests on the 2017 motorcycle in Malaysia and Thailand, both drivers have in fact promoted the evolution of the Italian prototype.

The objective of this test is twofold: to continue the development of the new RS-GP and prepare the race to be held on this same circuit in two weeks. 45 laps were run today by Scott Redding who scored his fast lap of 1'55.931, while Aleix Espargaro' achieved his best time in 1'56.062 for a total of 50 laps.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’ (bike no. 41): "Here in Qatar I immediately found a better feeling than Thailand, we struggled a bit in the last part of the session but I'm quite satisfied with this first day. We did a shakedown of the second RS-GP 2018 that we received and did some setting tests, to be ready to push tomorrow. On this track we know that there is a lot of difference between the fastest lap and the race pace, so we will work above all to find the right compromise between performance and consistency".

SCOTT REDDING (bike no. 45): "I'm happy with how we started these three days. After the tests in Thailand I wanted to improve especially the braking phase, because I felt that the area was limiting me, and we managed to take a step forward. We haven't tested many new parts but we have identified a good direction to work on in the coming days. As I have always said, my goal is not to do a quick lap but to constantly reduce the gap with the best, the most important thing is to get ready in the race where you earn points".