Grand prix

MotoGP: Zeelenberg: We know Miguel Oliveira’s fast! Aprilia ‘feels like a 250’ | MotoGP

Replaced at Red Bull KTM by Jack Miller, Oliveira turned down offers from Gresini Ducati and GASGAS in favour of the RNF-Aprilia move.

The Portuguese’s first contact with the RS-GP was promising, Oliveira occasionally dipping into the 1m 30s during the day before setting a 1m 30.3s in a late time attack.

That was just 0.335s from fastest man Luca Marini (Ducati) and put five-time MotoGP race winner Oliveira between factory Aprilia riders Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro.

“No, because we know he’s fast!” smiled Zeelenberg, when asked if he was surprised by Oliveira’s speed.

“But of course we hoped he was able to flow into the package as he did. Because it’s nice to see him doing 30.3. With the KTM he did 30.1, so this is already a good achievement for the first day on a new bike.

“Also, he doesn’t have the feeling that he’s doing crazy things. So this is also very important. Because you could do a couple of time attacks to reach that lap time, but he fitted just one soft tyre at the end.

“So the base is working. For sure we need to adjust some things to improve his riding positioning, the levers and these kind of things.

“But to do that [time] already is good. It was a time attack but you know the race pace was 31.3-4 and he was already able to do that under these circumstances [at the test].”

Team-mate Raul Fernandez, who spent a difficult rookie MotoGP season on a KTM at Tech3, was 21st fastest (+1.3s).

Zeelenberg: ‘Job done’ for RNF’s debut Aprilia test

“I would say ‘job done’,” declared Zeelenberg. “The transition for the team from Yamaha to Aprilia, and from KTM for the riders, basically worked out pretty good.

“There were no crazy things and it was easier to flow in [from Yamaha to Aprilia] than expected [for the riders], especially because of the behaviour of the bike.

“Of course there are also things they need to adapt to. And we all know that riding on the same track after a race for sure helps the lap times. So we should not underestimate that.

“But to see Miguel feeling really comfortable and not thinking that this is the limit, is very promising.”

‘Aprilia looks big, but feels like a 250!’

Zeelenberg also gave his impressions of the RS-GP, which won its first MotoGP race this season, one of eight podium appearances for title contender Espargaro and team-mate Vinales.

“From the side actually you think it’s quite a big bike, a bit low, but the riders don’t feel that. They said actually the height is the same,” said the Dutchman, who was a 250GP winner as a rider before starting his career in team management.

“But especially from the top. The fuel tank is very small. so it feels like a 250. And saying that, also the agility is very easy.

“If you have a big bike, normally they [feel] very heavy. But with Aprilia the agility, turning the bike from left to right in low speed, at this track is very good and it feels like a 250.”

What impressed Oliveira and Fernandez about the RS-GP?

“Raul for sure front feeling, very well, because he struggled with that with the KTM. And so turning, corner entry. That’s his main thing,” Zeelenberg explained.

“And for Miguel basically how the bike absorbs the bumps [more smoothly] and that everything feels easier. So you can ride the bike much more easy on the limit than his old bike.”

The next official MotoGP test will be at RNF’s ‘home’ Sepang circuit in February.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.