The Aprilia Racing Team had a promising start to the weekend at the team’s home race event in Imola, Italy for round 4 of the 2014 FIM World Superbike Championship at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari Autodromo.
WSBK riders Marco Melandri and Sylvain Guintoli had solid rides in practice on Friday turning the 3rd and 4th quickest times respectively. Melandri was very optimistic with the work done on the RSV4 Factory bike in practice stating the team was now “trying to understand how the tires behave and working on [their] electronics strategies”. Marco was able to lay down a 1:46.74 in the Superpole on Saturday putting him in 5th position. Guintoli was feeling very comfortable on the RSV4 Factory machine as well on Friday mentioning that his “times were promising” and the team will “be able to improve even more” over the course of the weekend. Sylvain’s hunch proved to be dead-on as he posted a 1:46.554 in Superpole the next day putting him in second place, less than three tenths of a second behind the pole leader, Jonathan Rea.
On raceday, both Aprilia riders held strong but didn’t quite get the results they were hoping for. Coming off a race win in Assen last month, Sylvain Guintoli was able to make the podium in Race 2 at Imola securing a 3rd place finish. Marco Melandri’s best finish of the weekend was a 5th in Race 1 but had a quickest lap just one quarter of a second slower than Rea who took the win. The Aprilia Racing Team seems to be dialing in the RSV4 Factory race bikes and has high hopes for WSBK round 5 at UK’s Donington Park Circuit as the firm continues to defend its Manufacturers World Championship title achieved in the last two seasons.