Aprilia Alitalia team manager Francesco Guidotti believes the upcoming fourth round of the World Superbike Championship at Monza will prove pivotal to their title challenge.
Max Biaggi has fallen 43 points behind Carlos Checa in the overall standings after just six races following the Spaniard's exceptional run of four wins and two podiums.
It means Checa has almost a round in hand heading to the next event at Monza, though the former MotoGP rider has previously suggested his Althea Ducati, with its much talked about top speed disadvantage, is likely to struggle on the long straights of the Italian circuit.
By contrast, Aprilia is tipped to shine on home soil and having won both races last year with Biaggi, Guidotti believes a similar result will be imperative to get them back on terms in the title fight
"At Monza we have to make our best and if possible our best is winning. Monza will be a key race for the championship because the gap now is quite big and Monza is our home race, so of course there is big motivation around it. We will try for sure to close the gap as soon as possible.
Guidotti's comments come after Aprilia participated in a private test at Mugello to work on engine and chassis settings, Biaggi lapping at 1min 51.1secs with Leon Camier just a tenth adrift.
"We tested two different engine settings and some chassis settings to help us be ready for the race next week. We did not try out different engines, just settings, no special parts just for Monza. The changes are a step forward and we are working to develop the engine and all of the bike in time for the next race. But not only for Monza, from Monza onwards.
“We did around 50 laps each day with each rider and the work we do is for the whole of the rest of the season. We are quite happy, looking forward to the next weekend with confidence."