The North-East based Milwaukee Aprillia World Superbike team have launched their 2017 bikes at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
The team revealed a pair of RSV4 RF machines to be campaigned by Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori on the opening day of 2017 pre-season testing.
The two-time British Superbike championship winning team have begun a new works partnership with Italian manufacturer Aprillia after contesting 2016 with pair customer BMW bikes.
Lead rider Laverty, who moved back to World Superbikes after a stint in MotoGP, is looking forward to being near the front of the grid again in a championship where he has taken 13 wins.
Laverty said: “I’ve had two months out of the saddle, and now I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike and to see what it can do.”
The two day Jerez test will give the team a chance to evaluate how successful the winter developments have affected the bike. Laverty continued: “The last test was a chance for me to get a feel for the bike again and the new Pirelli tyres. Now that that shakedown test is out of the way, it’s time for us to start chasing performance.”
Team Principal Shaun Muir said: “It’s great to finally be here in Jerez for our first test of 2017. It’s exciting to unveil the bikes; a lot of work has gone into the new generation of Aprilia RSVF RF over the winter.”
The garage area now has a large Italian contingent, particularly in the electronics department, as Aprillia integrate its own staff into the outfit. Commenting on support from the Aprillia factory, Muir said: “The upgrades and support we’ve received are testament to the commitment by Aprilia Racing to the whole project. Now we are looking forward to seeing the bikes on track, and slowly building up progress over four days of testing.”
Alongside the factory support, the squad retains a solid financial foundation as the team enter into a fifth year of a partnership with Milwaukee Tools and a second season with Gulf Oils. Having a proven championship challenger and a factory backed junior means the team expect to place higher than the 14th place that Josh Brookes achieved in 2016.
After the two day test the team will move onto Portugal to two day test at the Portimao circuit from January 28. The team will then prepare the bikes and equipment for shipping to Australia for the opening rounds of the championship in February.