The Pull & Bear Aspar Ducati team welcomed two new riders into the mix as they attended the Ricardo Tormo Circuit to complete two days of testing at the track in Valencia where they have just completed the Gran premio Motul de la Communitant Valenciana.
New line up at the Aspar MotoGP team
Alvaro Bautista has finished up the 2016 MotoGP season with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, and has returned to the team with whom he secured the 125cc championship in 2006. Making his return to the MotoGP class, and partnering up with the Spaniard is Karol Abraham.
Bautista has spent the last season working on developing the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini RS-GP and managed to get it into the top 10 a few times on several occasions. Familiar with how a MotoGP bike works, he had to readjust to life aboard a Ducati.
Bautista progressed from the GP15 to the GP16
After spending the first day familiarising with the Ducati GP15, completing 58 laps and finishing 15th on the timesheet, he spent a lot of time aboard the GP16 on day two and although he dropped in the standings to 14th overall, was still able to improve on his lap time after completing another 69, with his fastest time occurring on lap 59 registering at 1:31.186, almost half a second improvement.
Abraham makes his return to the MotoGP
The main objective for Abraham was to reacquaint himself with a MotoGP bike in general; something that has come a long way since he last competed in the class as they now run with Michelin tyres, and the same ECU to mention a few. Initially starting the test on the Desmosedici GP14.2, he progressed on to the GP15 on day two of the test.
After completing 59 laps on day one and finishing 23rd on the timesheets, he gained a place by the end of day two when he completed another 41 laps (100 in total), however was unable to match the time he had set on day one. He finished the test with a quickest time of 1:32.231.
Aspar Crew Chief discusses the two days testing
Jorge Martinez, Team Manager of the Pull & Bear Aspar Team spoke of how the “season is barely over” and they are already there “looking forward to an exciting new project”; he was referring to their new riders and the “new bikes from Ducati”.
After day one he described how “Bautista is adapting” and that he was “happy and his pace is good”. He felt that him being 12th fastest and “seven tenths off the top” was definitely “not bad for the first day” as he revealed they have “never been so close”.
He also spoke of how it was “Abraham’s first day back on a Ducati”, and confirmed that he began with the GP14 with the intention of moving to the GP15 on the second day saying he will “take a step forward and ride the GP5 that he will campaign in 2017”. He was “very happy with how the first day went”.
Martinez happy with the Valencia test outcome
Come the end of the two days of testing, he confirmed that they were “really happy with the way the first test of the pre-season has gone”. He spoke of how he thinks “Bautista looks a very mature, complete and confident rider” and that he went and “improved by half a second” from day one, however it was “more hi rhythm that has impressed” him.
He confirmed that he “set 18 laps over two runs in the 1:31's”, something that he thought was “much more important than setting a one off 1:30 lap”. Martinez feels that “rhythm is important” and that he “would have put on an impressive race with that kind of pace”.
Martinez felt that “Abraham also improved a lot from yesterday” and he said that they “have to remember that this is the first time he has ridden the Ducati GP15” a bike he described as being “very different from the bike he rode” on day one. He spoke of how the GP15 is “easier to ride” as it turns better”. Martinez knew he hadn’t “done a lot of laps” but he hoped that in the two days of tests in Jerez they can “continue to improve like [they] have done” in Valencia and “have two full days at it”.