Aspar have been one of the following in this pre-season:
- Very secretive and are working with a very powerful machine
- 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 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|
|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.
|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.
|17 – Karel Abraham|
|2016||18th, 33pts, BMW (WSBK)|
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.
|19 – Alvaro Bautista|
|Age||32||Born||Talavera de la Reina|
|Honours||2006 125CC World Champion|
|2016||12th, 82pts, Aprilia Gresini|
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.