Aprilia reveals all-new 2019 livery ahead of final test
The factory Aprilia squad has unveiled an all-new predominantly black livery on its 2019 RS-GP MotoGP challenger on the eve of the final pre-season test in Qatar.
This season marks Aprilia's fifth in its return to the premier class, which it made in 2015, running in conjunction with the Gresini team, allowing the Italian marque to benefit from the financial concessions given to independent outfits.
Last year proved difficult for Aprilia as the Noale marque finishing last in the manufacturers' table as both Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding struggled for pace in the RS-GP, with the former managing just four top 10 finishes compared to the 10 he enjoyed in 2017.
This winter has been one of change for Aprilia, with ex-Suzuki man Andrea Iannone coming in to join Espargaro in place of the British Superbike-bound Redding, while former Ferrari Formula 1 sporting director Massimo Rivola has taken over as CEO.
“It’s always risky to talk about expectations before a new season, but it is only natural when it’s an award-winning racing department like Aprilia Racing,” said Rivola.
“Our trophy case in and of itself demands constant growth, a collective effort to arrive at a competitive level in MotoGP as well.
“On my arrival, I found a group with no lack of skill and passion, as well as extraordinary loyalty to the team colours which will be a fundamental part of our project.
“We can count on two extraordinarily talented riders who, although very different from one another, share the same extraordinary passion for this sport.
“It is no exaggeration to think of us as a ‘David’ against the giants of world motorcycle racing and I have no problem with this comparison since, in the end, David triumphed [against Goliath].”
The pre-season phase for Aprilia has so far been positive, after Espargaro finished seventh overall at the end of the Sepang test two weeks ago, with the Spaniard admitting afterwards the new bike felt more like the 2017 RS-GP he enjoyed a strong run of results on.
New team-mate Iannone could only manage two days of running due to an infection reportedly caused by plastic surgery on his jaw in the winter.
Aprilia has gained former KTM rider Bradley Smith has a test rider this year, and the Briton is expected to make several wildcard appearances in 2019, including at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix on March 10.
Pre-season testing resumes on Saturday for three days of running at the Losail International Circuit.