4 May 2015
Jerez MotoGP Test: Aprilia seamless gearbox debut 'complete success'
“Alvaro liked it very much and found a clear advantage straight away compared to the conventional gearbox. So it was a complete success”
Alvaro Bautista made an impressive debut on Aprilia's seamless-shift gearbox during Monday's official test at Jerez.
The advanced gearbox technology, which allows faster and smoother gear changes, is the next major upgrade planned for the RS-GP, which received a pneumatic-valve engine as part of its winter evolution from the Open-class ART.
Bautista set an impressive eleventh fastest time out of 22 riders at the test, lapping 1.258s from Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and almost one-second faster than on his way to 15th in Sunday's race.
The new gearbox, described as a 'full' seamless, is now set to make its grand prix debut within the next few rounds.
“Today was a very positive day. For the first time we put our seamless gearbox technology, a particular Aprilia solution, on the track with an official rider,” confirmed Aprilia Racing manager Romano Albesiano.
“Alvaro liked it very much and found a clear advantage straight away compared to the conventional gearbox. So it was a complete success, which now means we'll have to work hard to get it into a race as quickly as possible.
“Considering how things went today I think we'll be able to do that soon, within the next two or three races. I'd like to have it for Mugello or at the latest for Barcelona.”
Wile Bautista tried the new gearbox, team-mate Marco Melandri worked on new chassis solutions, including a new frame and swingarm.
“Marco did his job, bringing in new chassis ideas, some we liked and some not so much, so we still have some work to do in that area," Albesiano said. “In short I would say that, between the race and the tests, we are finishing up this trip to Jerez pretty well.”
Bautista has scored the 15th and final point at both Austin and Jerez, with Melandri yet to score.
The factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati teams already use seamless shift technology, for both upshifts and downshifts, with only 2015 returnees Aprilia and Suzuki still racing with conventional gearboxes.
Aprilia is designing an all-new bike for 2016, the date originally planned for its factory MotoGP return.
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