Eugene Laverty is hoping to reap the benefits of the work done by Aprilia in their title winning year in 2014 as the 2017 Superbike World Championship gets underway.
Laverty, alongside new team-mate Lorenzo Savadori, is testing in Jerez with the new-look Milwaukee Aprilia team and despite a few initial issues, he’s feeling confident ahead of the season’s start in Phillip Island next month.
While Aprilia haven’t had any official teams in World Superbikes since 2015, the Noale factory have continued to work on the RSV4 and the latest iteration of the machine bears a number of components inspired by the Italian firm’s RS-GP MotoGP machine.
“The bike was difficult first thing, quite a few things have changed since I rode it in November so it took a bit of sorting,” Laverty said. “We had a positive end of the day, we were probably back where we were at the end of the last test and arrived at the same problems.
“We’re struggling to get the bike stopped and turned, it feels like it’s pushing the front a lot so that’s a direction we need to improve on to get some lap times!”
One of the GP-inspired changes comes in the shape of an all new fuel tank, which is much narrower than the old tank and travels further back under the seat, altering the centre of gravity. As a result of this, the bike also features a new seat unit.
“The new fuel tank feels good, for me it’s one of the most important things as that’s what you are sat around, it’s what gives the impression of the size of the bike and it feels smaller. I think I’ll be able to manoeuvre around it better.”
Laverty last rode for Aprilia in World Superbikes in 2013, when he took nine victories and finished second in the championship.
“It does compare to the bike I rode in 2013, but it has moved on. The gearbox feels better, the fuel tank is neater, they did a good job with the bike in 2014 with Sylvain winning the championship and hopefully we can reap the benefits of that now.”
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