Milwaukee Aprilia make a flying start on day one at Phillip Island
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit , 23/2/18
Milwaukee Aprilia made an impressive start in Free Practice at Phillip Island as Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty ended the day first and third with an automatic Superpole 2 entry for both riders
Despite changeable conditions at the Australian track both riders demonstrated solid pace in the dry and the wet. Both set their fastest times in Free Practice 2, Lorenzo's blistering 1'30.407 the fastest of the day putting him P1 while Eugene's 1'30.746 moved him to P3, separated by 0.339s. Eugene's speed trap of 314 km/h was fastest of the day, cementing the outright speed of the Aprilia.
A damp Free Practice 1 was run on wet tyres, affording the riders opportunity to gain experience with the RSV4 RF on wet tyres at Phillip Island with rain forecast over the weekend. The riders rose to the challenge, Eugene's 1'43.384 leaving him P3, with Lorenzo's 1'44.698 putting him P13.
A drying track allowed riders to move on to slicks in FP2 where Lorenzo and Eugene set about lighting up the time sheets. Neither rider improved their times in FP3, electing to work on set up, race pace and tyre life ahead of Saturday's Race 1.
The team will next be on track in Free Practice 4 on Saturday 9:40 local time (GMT +11) ahead of Superpole 2 (12:55-13:10) and the race at 15:00.
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"It's been a positive Friday at our first race of the year. It's encouraging to see the lap times so close between all the teams, and clearly the rule changes are having some effect.
Our comparative times from last year have improved, and we have halved the gap to the leading riders. Our Free Practice times are encouraging but we must stay focused, and ensure that we have good race pace that will keep us in a strong position up to the chequered flag. We all know that a single lap at Phillip Island doesn't guarantee anything over a race distance.
That being said it was a fantastic performance from all the team, and it's great to see good moral and a real focus on both sides of the box. Hopefully we will wake up tomorrow morning to blue skies and a dry Superpole and race."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Combined Free Practice time:
1'30.407 - P1
“I'm happy to end the day P1 and make Superpole 2. Of course we have more work to do still for the race pace, but we have another session tomorrow morning to improve so that we are in an even better position.
The weather today was quite difficult but it was the same for all. Aprilia Racing and SMR have worked really hard over the winter on the bike so we have good speed in all conditions. The top riders are still quick for sure, but we have made a lot of progress and I think today we have shown this.
It is difficult to say now how the race will go tomorrow, we still have some more long run practice to do and Superpole first. I know the team will work hard tonight, and I am really looking forward to racing again."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Combined Free Practice time:
1'30.746 - P3