The Milwaukee Aprilia World Superbike team has launched at the Jerez circuit.
Posing with their new Aprilia RSV4 RFs, riders Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori were presented with their 2017 machines in front of journalists, marking the bike's first public appearance.
The team is a union of the prolific SMR (Shaun Muir Racing) team and the highly successful Aprilia Racing, a first for both outfits.
Double British Superbike champions SMR made their debut in World Superbikes in 2016, and have their sights set high heading into the 2017 season. Speaking at the launch, Team Principal Shaun Muir said:
"It's great to finally be here in Jerez for our first test of 2017. It's exciting to unveil the bikes; a lot of work has gone into the new generation of Aprilia RSVF RF over the winter. The upgrades and support we've received are testament to the commitment by Aprilia Racing to the whole project.
Now we are looking forward to seeing the bikes on track, and slowly building up progress over four days of testing in preparation for us shipping out to Round 1 in Australia next month."
Aprilia Racing have a successful history in WorldSBK, with three rider titles and four manufacturer titles to their name. 2017 marks their return to providing full factory support in the championship.
Eugene Laverty, returning to WorldSBK after a two-year stint in MotoGP added:
"I’ve had two months out of the saddle, and now I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike and to see what it can do.
It was useful to ride the bike in the November test to get a feel for it, and now this is a new RSV4 RF and it’s my race bike. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works and hopefully by the end of the Jerez test we’ll know where we stand, which is what testing is all about.
The last test was a chance for me to get a feel for the bike again and the new Pirelli tires. Now that that ‘shakedown’ test is out of the way, it’s time for us to start chasing performance."
Lorenzo Savadori, winner of the 2015 World Superstock title added:
"I’m really excited to start the 2017 season, and I can’t wait to ride the RSV4 RF today and get some laps in.
I haven’t ridden for two months, but I am really focussed for this test and to make some good progress. I feel really comfortable in this team and I think we can do well this year. The bike is new and the team has worked hard on it, so we will see what we can learn this week.
I hope the weather will stay good for us for today and tomorrow, and that we can complete a lot of running. We have lots of new things to try and I will make sure I give my best.”
Milwaukee Power Tools continue as title sponsor, entering the fifth year of their partnership with SMR.
Gulf Oil International, entering its second year as team sponsor in WorldSBK, also remain with the outfit.
Milwaukee Aprilia will test at Jerez on the 24th-25th, before relocating to Portimao in Portugal for a further two-day test on the 28th-29th. The 2017 WorldSBK season begins proper in February, at Phillip Island in Australia.