“We will bring a first version of the aerodynamics package for the 2018 RS-GP to Qatar” – Romano Albesiano, Aprilia.

The Italian manufacturer had schedule to bring its latest engine to the last pre-season test at the Losail track, but a change of plan has delayed the new motor’s introduction to the season opener at the same venue on 18th of March.

“It will be an optimized version of the last engine, with some internal new parts. They want to gain on power and reliability, and especially they want to help keep the performance as the kilometers go by.”

A lack of engine performance and reliability was one of the biggest problems faced by Aleix Espargaro last year, and a lack of acceleration has continued to hold Aprilia back in pre-season testing.

The Spaniard ended up 14th on the final day of running in Thailand last week, while new teammate Scott Redding was 18th-fastest.

Espargaro highlighted the urgent need to update the RS-GP’s engine after the opening test in Sepang, and reiterated this request at Buriram.