PHILLIP ISLAND, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 22: Stefan Bradl of Germany and the Aprillia Racing Team Gresini rides during qualifying for the 2016 MotoGP of Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 22, 2016 in Phillip Island, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The 2017 MotoGP season officially got underway in Malaysia this morning after a winter break that had the Aprilia Racing Department busy developing the RS-GP, the bike that took to the track for the first time less than one year ago.

The good growth demonstrated by the first Aprilia pure-bred MotoGP (beginning with the exclusive narrow V4 engine) in the second half of last season has motivated the entire team to take a leap of quality. From a technical point of view, development followed to fundamental directives: the evolution of a base design that has proven to be extremely promising and the adaptation of the bike's characteristics to the requests made by the new Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders.

Aleix Espargaró, impressed by the performance of his RS-GP in the tests so far, acknowledged the strong points of the Aprilia prototype that are a good fit for his riding style without pointing out any particular critical issues.

“I am highly motivated,” he said. “2017 will be a great challenge for us. I can't wait to test the RS-GP and see that changes that were made during the winter that will allow us to take another step forward compared with the first contacts in Valencia and Jerez. I know that the guys have done a lot of work based on my indications. Sepang will be an important test to see where we stand.”

The primary objective for Sam Lowes, making his début in the premier category following a progressive path that began in 2016 in a few tests, is to increase his confidence on the bike and in the category. The English rider worked nonstop throughout the break so that he would be ready, physically and mentally, for this new challenge.

“After the winter break, it is always very exciting to get back on the track for the first test,” he said. “I can't wait to get back in the saddle because in Jerez I wasn't able to take full advantage of the time we had due to my injury. The team has worked hard over the winter and I was in Spain to train and get ready. My goal in Sepang is to continue improving and to increase my familiarity with the Aprilia MotoGP bike.”