Lowes and Stoner Start Two-Day Test at Misano

Aprilia and Ducati had their first day of a two-day test at Misano on Wednesday, with two big-name riders. Casey Stoner returned to action with Ducati, testing the Desmosedici GP (as the 2016 bike is officially known), as part of Ducati's official test team. For Aprilia, Sam Lowes got his first taste of the RS-GP, testing the MotoGP bike alongside Aprilia's official test rider Mike Di Meglio.

As this is a private test, no information regarding lap times was available, and Ducati were keeping very quiet on exactly what they are testing. From Casey Stoner's Twitter feed, we know that he was testing the GP16, though exactly what he was testing is unknown. Stoner did post the following video on Twitter:

As for Sam Lowes, the Gresini Moto2 rider spent his day riding the 2015 version of the Aprilia RS-GP. This was the Englishman's first time out on a MotoGP bike, so his primary focus was gaining an understanding of the Michelin tires and carbon brakes, rather than testing the latest machinery. Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano was pleased with how well Lowes had adjusted to a MotoGP bike, telling Italian website GPOne: "This morning it was impressive to see how quickly he adapted to the new bike and at the same time I was struck by the great methodology with which he took on the various issues." No lap times were released, but paddock rumor suggest that Lowes was much quicker than expected.

While Lowes worked on learning to ride a MotoGP bike, the real work of development fell on the shoulders of Mike Di Meglio. The Frenchman did short runs in sweltering heat to test new chassis components for the 2016 bike, but focused especially on the electronics, according to GPOne. Electronics is one area where Aprilia have struggled, making the switch from their own proprietary software to the spec software this year.

Lowes, too, posted updates to his social media stream, including the following photo on Instagram:


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Still don't know why Aprilia signed Lowes when they currently have two guys who've actually won championships and got podiums riding for them.

I do. He is hungry, and ripening rather than over ripe. I prefer a bit of turnaround in general, new paired with seasoned etc. I could see keeping one.

(Thanks for chiming in, glad you survived your "because you are a fanboy" and "you must not even be a racing fan" etc barrage. I decided not to mention that I would prefer to see Rabat replaced by Van der Mark in a recent post just to avoid cheesy personal attack).

The big factories already know they have the best of the current riders signed up.  Bradl and Bautista (who I think are both great riders) have shown that they aren't as fast and consistent as the top four.  There's no point continuing to play your losing hand and hoping that it wins, you may as well draw a new card.  I think there was a good argument to keep one of them though.

Until the Michelins started to settle and the aero question was decided, there has been not much point in Stoner doing extended tests; now Ducati can fairly much see what they need in next year's bike (and for what rider!) and so there is a definite direction for development.

I wonder if there was an undistinguished observer at the track, wearing an ill-fitting beard, a very floppy hat and one black and one red shoe...