MotoGP 2017 Preview: Aprilia Racing

Two new riders, and a new livery that has set Twitter ablaze. That’s pretty much all anyone seems to be talking about with this year’s Aprilia. Positive test results seem to have been ignored because they don’t like the look of the bike. Never mind the fact they’ve got two new riders, one of which with a consistent pedigree in MotoGP, or the fact this bike seems capable of breaking into the midfield pack. No, let’s talk about a bit of green on the bike.

The bike

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Name Aprilia RS-GP 17
Engine Aprilia Racing narrow V4, 81mm bore, counter rotating crankshaft, timing with pneumatic valve recall system
Power >260BHP
Chassis Aluminium Twin Tube
Transmission 6-Speed, Titanium PBR Sprocket Chain
Brakes Brembo, 2x340mm front, 2×4-piston callipers. Single disc rear with twin-piston calliper

A brief refresher for those of you who may not know why things are the way they are.

A bike’s livery is reflective of its sponsors. Remember the beautiful yellow Yamaha M1? That was a factory job. The fact it’s been blue for donkeys? Sponsors. Do you think Honda would paint their bike in Repsol colours if they weren’t being paid a lot of money to do so?

Aprilia is an Italian team and the three colours of the Italian flag are represented. The NowTV logo is green on blue. They are likely paying Aprilia lots of money to have it this way. So the alternatives are having a fully aesthetically pleasing number that they have to shell out fortunes on, or they get a bit of help with that.

You’re all ignoring the fact that this could be a bike to break up the monotony of the midfield, especially with who’s on board it.

The riders

Out Stefan Bradl (WSBK), Alvaro Bautista (Aspar)
In Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki), Sam Lowes (Gresini Moto2)

Stefan Bradl’s reward for being a surprisingly good replacement rider in 2015 is over, as he has headed to WSBK to be Nicky Hayden’s team mate at Honda. Alvaro Bautista doesn’t get to see the fruits of his long-term development, and he heads to Aspar, and a potentially very good bike.

In, come two men with a point to prove.

aleix

41 – Aleix Espargaro
Age 27 Born Granollers, Spain
Honours None
2016 11th, 93pts, Suzuki
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
125CC 23 0 0 36 16th, 2005
250CC 44 0 0 181 12th, 2008
Moto2 17 0 1 76 12th, 2011
MotoGP 112 0 1 572 7th, 2014

Aleix has had the misfortune of being team mate to future world champion Maverick Viñales for the past two years on the Suzuki, and while his results certainly haven’t been bad, because they were worse than the departing guy, he seems to have taken the fall too.

His job this year is to spearhead the attack for the Aprilia, who have seemingly come to play. He’s better than his solitary podium makes out, but success this year will probably be coming eighth several times.

lowes.jpg

22 – Sam Lowes
Age 26 Born Lincoln, England
Honours British Supersport Champion, World Supersport Champion
2016 5th, 175pts, Gresini (Moto2)
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
BSS 23 5 10 279 1st, 2010
WSS 43 8 23 557 1st, 2013
Moto2 54 3 11 430 4th, 2015

Two-time Supersport champion Sam Lowes brings his devil may care riding style to the big boys. A race winner in Moto2, consistently towards the business end of the field, there’s high hopes from this writer for the Brit.

Now, the only question mark I have over him is his temperament. He isn’t the most patient of folks. How is he going to cope with a bike that likely won’t be a race winner? He’s been competitive on bikes that haven’t been championship material for the last three years in Moto2, but this is a whole different kettle of fish.

The team battle

I think Aleix edges Sam. Experience factor.

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