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Sepang MotoGP Test: Aprilia 'We didn’t see the real Marco Melandri'

“We didn't see the real Marco Melandri I believe. Even watching him on the track. It was strange”
Aprilia Racing manager Romano Albesiano hopes Marco Melandri can 'reset something' after being left at the bottom of the timesheets on two out of the three days at the Sepang MotoGP test.

Melandri has followed Aprilia's factory move from World Superbike to MotoGP, where he raced from 2003-2010. The Italian has won five MotoGPs and finished 2005 title runner-up on Honda machinery for Gresini, the team which has now joined forces with Aprilia.

Continuing Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista was the leading Aprilia in 15th, 17th and 21st respectively over the three days at Sepang. The Spaniard set a best lap time 3.0s from the record pace of Marc Marquez.

Melandri was classified 26th on day one and then 28th and last on days two and three. The Italian's best lap was 4.8s from Honda's Marquez and 0.242s slower than Ioda's Alex de Angelis, riding last year's Open class ART.

“We are very happy with Alvaro. He is fast. He is consistent. He is motivated. He is a good member of the team. Perfect,” Albesiano told

“Marco was in some trouble yesterday [day 3] and the day before [day 2]. I hope he can reset something, because we didn't see the real Marco Melandri during these days I believe. Even watching him on the track. It was strange.”

Albesiano admitted that it is a difficult situation for Melandri, who has gone from fighting for the WSBK title during the last four seasons, to a currently uncompetitive MotoGP bike.

“It's not easy for him for sure,” Albesiano said. “Honestly we pushed him a little to do this challenge with us, because we know he is very good at riding and developing the bike. So I hope he can recover quickly.”

Another factory Aprilia rider was also at Sepang in the form of Michael Laverty. Laverty, who raced for PBM in MotoGP during the last two seasons, is combining Aprilia MotoGP/WSBK testing duties with racing for BMW in BSB.

“Michael for me is a surprise because I haven't worked with him before. He is quite fast and absolutely precise with his comments and his reports,” Albesiano said. “I really, really appreciate his work. He's definitely a good asset for our team.”

Aprilia is developing an all-new MotoGP bike for 2016 and will spend this season on an upgraded version of its CRT/Open class machine, the ART.

The 2015 'RS-GP' retains the main architecture of the ART, but now has a pneumatic-valve engine, with a seamless-shift gearbox planned for the first half of the racing season.

While a 'Step 2' version of the RS-GP was available at Sepang, Bautista and Melandri preferred the previous design, which they had used in tests last November.

Tagged as: Aprilia , Marco Melandri

Related Pictures

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Melandri, Sepang MotoGP tests, 4-6 February 2015
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February 10, 2015 2:04 PM

SuperSic: If Simoncelli was still around then I think Pedrobot would be in World Supersports, Marquez and Simoncelli would be Repsol Honda, and both contesting eachother for the world Championship, and I think Valentino Rossi would be pushing even harder to keep up with them. Losing Simoncelli was a massive blow to MotoGP
4th best rider in the world capable of beating anyone on his day would be pushed back to WSS if a fast but crash prone Italian wouldn't have passed away? Be realistic would you


February 10, 2015 3:13 PM

EdOz: Wouldn't say Pedrosa to WSS... that's pretty harsh considering much lesser talents are still around, like Hayden (sorry ex-champ, I'm a big fan but your days are way behind you now). Maybe Pedrosa would be at Suzuki now instead of Vinales... who knows?! Too many variables
You mean Hayden the guy who actually won the world championship despite his teammate (danny) crashing him and costing him several points? Or Danny who's been with Repsol Honda for ten years and hasn't won a title? It's hard to say someones days are behind them when they are on a bike not anywhere near capable of being near the front.

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