It was the first official outing for Japanese Shinya Nakano atop the Aprilia RSV4 in preparation for the 2009 World Superbike season. Yesterday and today, on the Spanish circuit in Valencia, Nakano underwent two intense days of testing for a total of 141 laps; 72 on Monday when he clocked in a best time of 1:36.4 and 69 today when he stopped the clock at 1:35.3. Also on the track today was Marco Simoncelli, the newly-crowned 250 world champion from Gilera (which, like Aprilia, is a Piaggio Group brand) who was allowed to try out the RSV4 as a reward for his splendid season. Marco raced a total of 37 laps this afternoon with the best time of 1:36.3. Also returning to the track was Aprilia test rider Alex Hofmann after his nasty accident in July. The German rider, still not in perfect physical condition, raced a total of 90 laps with a best time of 1:37.3 (clocked in today).
“My intent here was to gain a good feeling with the motorcycle – declared Nakano – and it was tough at first since the RSV4 is very different from a MotoGP bike. After many laps we were able to correctly adjust the mechanics and today I felt at ease and had a lot of fun riding it. For now we just wanted to find a good starting point and we were successful. There is still a lot of work to do, especially regarding the electronics and engine brake management, but we have all the time we need to find the right solutions. I am very satisfied with these two days of work; the level of the technicians is very high and I already have a good feeling with my team. I am sure we will work very well together”.
“It went really well and I had a lot of fun – said Marco Simoncelli – I really wanted to try out this highly-awaited motorcycle and, thanks to the Aprilia Racing Division, I got to do it. I found the RSV4 to be very easy to ride; the engine is strong and pulls even in high gears, I was surprised by the power and acceleration in the straight-aways. I also raced pretty well and am happy with my performance. However, for now I'm having more fun with the 250 even if it's more nervewracking and thus harder to ride”.