James Ellison was pleasantly surprised following his first outing on the PBM Aprilia CRT machine he will ride on his return to the MotoGP world championship in 2012.
Ellison, whose last ride prior to his maiden test on the Aprilia at Jerez was some five and a half years ago when he was at Tech 3 Yamaha in 2006, was particularly impressed by the handling characteristics of the bike.
The 31-year-old told the official MotoGP website, motogp.com
: “It handles really well, I expected to get on it and say 'we need to change this, we need to adjust that', but it just feels like a race bike. I'm really impressed with it so far.”
“The tyres have tons of grip, the front hasn't moved yet. I feel like I'm pushing as hard as I can considering I've been off a bike for so long. We are a few seconds off pace for now, so maybe when I pick it up I'll start feeling where the other riders are struggling as well.
“The guys on the team and I are learning and we really just want to leave with knowledge and walk away with the bike in one piece, that's the main aim.”
Ellison's best time at the Spanish track was 1m 42.526s compared to Aspar's Randy de Puniet, who topped the CRT times in 1m 40.30s, an encouraging debut considering he was running steel brakes as opposed to the carbon brakes being used by the other teams.
“The bikes are identical except we still have steel brakes. The carbon disks will be a big thing when we get them, we tried to follow a few riders and the braking marks were the worst – I tried to brake where they did and just ran on.
“The potential is phenomenal. I think it will be a strong package. Out of all the CRTs, (the ART) seems to be one of the best, if not the best package. It's early...but potentially it's really good. It's exciting to know.”