Milwaukee Aprilia fired up for Round 2 in Thailand
Chang International Circuit , 22/3/18
Milwaukee Aprilia are targeting the big points positions ahead of Round 2 of the WorldSBK Championship in Thailand.
Following a month-long gap and a promising week at February’s season opener at Phillip Island, the team have arrived at the Chang circuit confident of another strong showing and results to reflect their recent form.
The first official 2018 test and Free Practice sessions at Round 1 underlined the team's progress with the Aprilia, where riders Lorenzo Savadori and Eugene Laverty finished first and third overall respectively. A crash for Lorenzo in Superpole 1 ruled him out of the weekend, but Eugene delivered a strong P2 in Superpole 2. Eugene then led the field in Race 2, before a crash dropped him to P15. Despite a disappointing finish there were positives to be taken for the whole team, and a clear forward step in the Aprilia’s speed and race pace.
The characteristics of the Chang circuit and local climate create a unique challenge for race teams. The 4.5 Km clockwise layout features 12 turns. A long run from Turn 1 and a kink at Turn 2 precedes heavy braking into Turn 3. Turn 4 leads to a twisty middle section, before a fast and flowing final section runs to a sharp Turn 12 onto the start/finish straight. With temperatures set to soar well above 30° Celsius tyre life is a critical factor in the race, making practice time especially valuable.
With Lorenzo back to fitness and valuable new race data to work with, the team have one more day until Free Practice and a chance to position the RSV4-RF with the best possible set up for the weekend.
Free Practice 1 begins on Friday 23rd at 09:45 local time (GMT +7).
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
“I'm optimistic for this weekend at Chang. We were quick last year and we're back with a better bike, so it should be a good round for us. It's a different set up and we know it's going to be hot and the surface slippery, but I'm still aiming for the podium and to be running at the front.
It's a track of two halves with long straights and hard braking, plus a twisty middle sector that needs an agile bike. It's always a compromise here to set the bike up for the whole track, but we've got it balanced well now and hopefully we can be quick from the off.
This is probably the toughest race of the year for us all; it's very hot and the track is very physical. But I'm in good shape and if we can be starting from the front like we did at Phillip Island then we can do well. I want to validate all the hard work the team has done and to make sure it counts on Saturday and Sunday."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
“I'm really happy to be back with the team for this weekend. It wasn't easy for me to get back my fitness as there was not much time after Phillip Island, but I worked a lot with my physio at home and I feel much better.
In Phillip Island we were fast from the beginning of Free Practice and my race pace was good. Chang is a very different circuit of course with a long straight and hard braking, so the requirements of the bike and the rider have to change.
It is always a tough race in such high temperatures and everyone has to work hard, but I am confident for the weekend and I'm looking forward to the start of Free Practice tomorrow."