5 February 2015
Sepang MotoGP Test: Bautista: Aprilia engine ‘like electric’
“This engine is more like an electric. So from the beginning, you can feel very linear power” - Alvaro Bautista.
New Factory Aprilia rider Alvaro Bautista finished the opening day of 2015 testing at Sepang in 15th place, two-seconds off Honda pace setter Marc Marquez.
But Bautista, remaining at Gresini during their switch from satellite Honda to factory Aprilia machinery, was a comfortable 2.2s ahead of team-mate Marco Melandri.
The Spaniard tried both the current Aprilia, fitted with a pneumatic-valve engine, plus a new bike.
“I think it has been a good day for me, I start to feel good on the bike, the bike that I used in Valencia and Jerez last year," Bautista said. "And we are working to get more feeling. We are working especially on the electronics side. Because in Jerez [end of November] we found some problems with the pneumatic-valve engine, so we have to adjust here. We did a small but forward improvement, so I'm happy.
“The bike from today was the same bike, it was just we used the pneumatic-valve engine. It's the only difference.
“Then I tried the new bike, the bike that Aprilia brought, but still it's not good enough. I prefer at the moment the old one, because with the new one they changed many things, especially the weight on the bike is so different, so we need to understand why it doesn't work as I want.
“We need to change this bike. Because with the standard bike I feel good, I can ride so comfortably. The new bike is so difficult and is different... I don't have a good feeling on the new bike.”
Comparing the Aprilia engine with his former factory-class RC213V machine, Bautista explained: “Pneumatic valves give more top power. On the bottom, the character is different from Honda, but especially, we need more power.
“This engine is more like an electric. So from the beginning, you can feel very linear power. With the Honda, for example, on the bottom was empty, then you have to open gas with the bike straight, otherwise you have a lot of power suddenly, so it is different. Here the power is coming slowly.
“The electronics at the moment are quite good. Comparing to the Honda electronics, it's much less than Honda, but I think also the engine character doesn't need as much electronics as the Honda. So I'm quite happy with this kind of electronics.
“We need more power. I remember here with the Honda on the straight, I felt like the engine had too much power, especially on fourth, fifth, sixth gear. We need more, but it's the second time that this engine goes to the track, so it's normal, no? We have a lot of work to do.”
As well as Bautista and Melandri, new test rider Michael Laverty is present for Aprilia at Sepang.
The 2015 race riders have two more days of testing available this week.
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