MotoGP 2017 preview: Aspar Ducati

Aspar have been one of the following in this pre-season:

  1. Very secretive and are working with a very powerful machine
  2. Not organised any press, hired a press relations guy, forgotten to put on a launch, or a mixture of all of them.

It’s more likely the second, because while Eugene Laverty did some great stuff on the Desmo 14.2 last year, the official team website seemingly remains a homage to him and Yonny Hernandez.

But, they have a couple of new bikes, and a couple of new riders. I’ll work with what I’ve got at time of writing.

The bike

633079020

The bike pictured is a Desmosidici GP16. As in Avintia, the team has a 16 and a 15 to play with. If you want to know the specs of the 16, take a look at the Avintia preview. Below are the specs of the GP15. They’re not too different, in all honesty.

Name Ducati Desmosedici GP 16
Engine 1000cc inline four cylinder
Power >240bhp
Chassis Aluminium alloy twin-spar
Transmission DST-Evo chain final drive
Brakes Brembo, 2x340mm front, 2×4-piston callipers. Single disc rear with twin-piston calliper

Aside from about five bhp, there’s not a lot different between the bikes. There’s a big difference between the people riding them, though.

The riders

Out Yonny Hernandez (Moto2), Eugene Laverty (WSBK)
In Karel Abraham (WSBK), Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia)

Eugene Laverty couldn’t find a slot on the grid, which is a huge shame, so he departs to World Superbikes where he could provide some serious competition for Jonathan Rea. Yonny Hernandez must be wondering what’s hit him though. Shunted out of Pramac to make space for Scott Redding last year, and now shunted down to Moto2 to make room for Karel Abraham, of all people.

abraham

17 – Karel Abraham
Age 27 Born Brno, Czechoslovakia
Honours None
2016 18th, 33pts, BMW (WSBK)
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
125CC 31 0 0 8 24th, 2006
250CC 47 0 0 145 14th, 2009
Moto2 14 1 2 96 10th, 2010
WSBK 24 0 0 33 18th, 2016
MotoGP 67 0 0 161 14th, x2

I mean this with the best will in the world, but what is the point of Karel Abraham? A constant example of what happens if Dad has money, he has only been on the podium twice in his professional racing career. Twice. In 183 races.

His dad operates Brno, which probably explains why Abraham went into racing in the first place, never mind staying around for so long. Thankfully, he gets the older bike, because I may have gone spare if he had the 16. He is not good.

bautista

19 – Alvaro Bautista
Age 32 Born Talavera de la Reina
Honours 2006 125CC World Champion
2016 12th, 82pts, Aprilia Gresini
Race Record
Championship Races Wins Podiums Points Best
125CC 67 8 18 545 1st, 2006
250CC 49 8 28 643 2nd, 2008
MotoGP 122 0 3 703 5th, 2012

His team mate, on the other hand, is. Or rather, he’s better than his machinery.

I remember watching Bautista claim his 125cc title and thinking he could go on to win many. Apparently, 18-year-old me wasn’t a good judge of talent. He’s gone on to have a steady career, but not the one I expected.

He’s been a good servant to Aprilia over the past two years, getting the bike to the standard where they might make quite an impression this year, but it won’t be with Bautista. He is easily the best of the two in Aspar, though.

The team battle

I’ll be surprised if Abraham lasts the year. Bats wins this.

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One thought on “MotoGP 2017 preview: Aspar Ducati

  1. Abraham’s got a better record in the Moto2 category than Y.Hernandez & A.Espargaro (neither of whom has ever won a race). He rode a crapped out CRT bike when he was in MotoGP last – he’s on a well sorted GP15 today.

    He’s no great rider but even though he’s buying his way in, he’s not bad rider either (especially if he clicks with the bike).

    A fact borne out by the Sepang time sheets – he’s nearly tied with Miller in 17th place. Just a tenth behind Folger and ahead of Barbera & Redding (though objectively they’re all better riders). Most importantly he’s over 0.4s ahead of Loris Baz on the same bike.

    And it wasn’t just one fast lap, for a good part of the third day (IIRC) he was running in the top five on the day’s time charts steadily upping his pace. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him finishing the season within the top 15.

    Like

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