After a four-month break, Aleix Espargaro was reacquainted with the 'totally new' Aprilia RS-GP during this week's private test at Misano.

At the end of the three days, Espargaro declared that the positive impressions at Sepang and Losail had been confirmed, while also trying a range of chassis, engine and electronic updates.

KTM set the pace on the opening days courtesy of a 1m 32.9s by Aleix's brother Pol and then Miguel Oliveira. But the Aprilia rider improved by half-a-second each day and, with the KTM's absent, matched their 1m 32.9s on Thursday.

Just as importantly for such a new bike, Espargaro completed 183 laps of the resurfaced San Marino Grand Prix venue.

"After such a long stop, it was exciting to get back onto the track and I already can’t wait to go to Jerez for the first two races," Espargaro said. "Turning a lot of laps is fundamental for us. We have a totally new bike which, although born with great potential, needs to get some miles under it.

"We also know that Misano is not our favourite track, but in spite of that, at the end of the three days, we managed to achieve a good pace, confirming the positive impressions we had already had in Malaysia and Qatar."

Under the new technical freeze rules, Concession manufacturers KTM and Aprilia have until next Monday (June 29) to submit their final engine design for the 2020 season.

It will be an especially significant decision for Aprilia given the changes made to its powerplant this winter, which now joins the other V4s in having a 90-degree V.

"These were important tests to define the starting point of our championship," said Aprilia technical director Romano Albesiano. "We assessed the various chassis, engine and electronics solutions.

"The decisions in view of Jerez have been taken. Many of the new features we had prepared worked well and I am rather pleased with the overall level of the bike. In any case, there is still a lot of work to do on the details, especially to increase overall reliability.

"We say it every year, but it isn’t wrong to do so: the level of the championship has gone up even farther and that pushes us to make an even greater effort."

A tenth behind Espargaro on the final day was Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, with Aleix team-mate Bradley Smith - now confirmed as starting the season for Aprilia in place of the suspended Andrea Iannone - setting a 1m 33.5s.

Aprilia test rider Lorenzo Savadori was also on track, initially with the RSV4 1100 he’ll be using in the Italian Championship before getting more MotoGP laps with a 2019 RS-GP on the third and final day.

An official MotoGP test will be held at Jerez on Wednesday, July 15, just before the new season-opening race weekend.

 

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