Aprilia RS Cube Fast at Valencia

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
From Aprilia Racing press:
After its debut in Jerez, the latest gem from Noale has wound up the IRTA tests withoutencountering any "emergency" technical problems (in technical jargon, any hitch which might slow down development work). On the contrary, the RS3is making rapid progress, passing all the reliability tests it isconstantly subjected to, with a rider who is getting to grips with it and pushing it further and further.

Laconi completed the test runs with a full 90 laps: 560 kilometres of essential growth for the RS Cube. While the reliability of the engine can be put through its paces on the Racing Department test bench, the only way to develop the set-up is out on thetrack...

Precious, data-packed kilometres. The primary objective was not so much a race against the clock for attention was focused elsewhere. But even so, the RS3 still got to within 2.6 seconds from the leader of the pack. A most honourable result. Development and fine-tuning work will carry on in the Department at Noale as they prepare for the next outing which is slated for the first week in March.

Marco Melandri, today out on his RSW 250 with a brand new pack of 2002 electronics, also completed his test runs. A harmless slide this morning did not upset his work programme. Marco has got back into his stride with his Aprilia after a long periodof forced inactivity.

"It's fast-paced work, but we're all gripped by the desire to forgeahead", said Regis Laconi. "We're working with the technicians to analyseand sort out all the details. I'm very happy with the configuration ofthe engine and with the way it can be handled on a track as technical asthe one here in Valencia. Huge progress has also been made on the set-updetails, adjusting them to suit the track. I'm getting a much betterfeeling for it and, after this second session of tests, I already feelmuch more at my ease. I'm just concentrating on making progress,forgetting all about the other bikes I've been on: the Cube's somethingelse - it's special."

"It's taken a load of laps to shake off the effects of my absence," saidMarco Melandri. "I was pretty whacked at the end - I'm not up to 100%yet. I'm also not sure any more of my limits, and this morning's sillyslide was simply an error of judgement. I had to widen my trajectoryround the curve. Still, no harm was done and I was soon back in thesaddle. I didn't make the times I was expecting because I still find ithard to give the bike what it needs on such a technical track. The bike'sfine - no problem. Two days' rest and I'll be ready for Estoril."

Times: Moto GP:1 McCoy (Yamaha) 1:34.0702 Nakano (Yamaha) 1:34.3603 Checa (Yamaha) 1:34.6544 Katoh (Honda) 1:34.7225 Kocinski (Yamaha) 1:34.8206 Biaggi (Yamaha) 1:35.0367 Abe (Yamaha) 1:35.2268° Capirossi (Honda) 1:35.35315 Laconi (MS Aprilia Racing) 1:36.744.
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