Aprilia has high expectations when it comes to the 2018 version of its RS-GP. A brand new machine for Scott Redding, who is making his debut with the Italian bike. After making initial contact with the 2017 bike last November at Valencia and Jerez, the Brit had a first opportunity to test the 2018 RS-GP in Malaysia.
How was this first approach with the new Aprilia RS-GP?
"The Malaysia test was a sort of shakedown, we had a new bike and I hadn't ridden the MotoGP Aprilia since November, at Jerez. At first, simply using the 2017 setting on the 2018 bike didn't work for me, unlike Aleix who didn't note any real differences, but then he has a lot more experience with this bike".
What was the next step?
"We started to work, also experimenting, to make me comfortable on the RS-GP. At the end of the three days, I was pleased, we found some initial solutions that we will continue to use and, the most important thing, we identified the direction to take in the future. I was able to improve day after day, limiting the gap from the fastest, and I feel we still have a lot of room for improvement".
You're young but already have significant MotoGP experience, is this helping you to develop a new bike like the Aprilia RS-GP?
"It's true, I already have good experience, though not with a factory bike. I am able to gather information and then transfer my sensations to the guys developing the Aprilia RS-GP. It's the first time I've been given the tools I need to do that and this really motivates me, I feel I'm in the right place. I have quite a unique riding style compared to many riders, I'm bigger and heavier: now I'm in a position to follow what is the best direction for me, it will be interesting to see where this takes us".
How was your first experience of the team?
"Very good, I got on great right from day one. I have a great team that supports me and that is immediately working in the direction I've indicated. At Sepang, we were able to find the right feeling, the guys are beginning to understand what I like on the bike and what I need to be fast. I can sense that they believe in me in Aprilia and this is what I was looking for, I'm pleased to have this opportunity".
What are your goals for the season?
"To continue to improve and to develop the Aprilia, working a lot on the bike during testing. I want to take the RS-GP to the top six. Last year, Aleix showed that this kind of result is within reach and I think the new bike has even greater potential, also because some new components and a new engine are still to come. We still have a few tests before the start of the championship, and I want to make the most of them, after which my aim will be to improve race by race and be as competitive as possible".