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GRAND PRIX OF FRANCE PREVIEW

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The MotoGP European season continues this week on the historic French Le Mans track: the goal for Bautista and Melandri is to finish in the points

Le Mans (France), 12 May 2015 - Fresh from a positive Spanish Grand Prix, Alvaro Bautista and Marco Melandri will be back astride their Aprilia RS-GP bikes for the fifth round of the MotoGP championship on the French Le Mans circuit.

The dual objective for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders is to finish in the points, further reducing the gap behind their adversaries - a result that Bautista has already brought home twice, in Austin and at Jerez - and to continue developing the bike, which has already undergone an initial acceleration from the start of the European season with positive feedback from Bautista who tested the new seamless gearbox for the first time in the post-race tests at Jerez.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“At Jerez the European phase of the Championship got off to a positive start: we finished the Grand Prix with both riders, the second championship point brought home by Bautista and a performance by Melandri that improved throughout the weekend. It was a trip where some comforting data came out for the future, thanks in part to the tests conducted the day after the race when Bautista provided the first positive feedback on a new seamless gearbox that should be making its début on the track very soon. This is confirmation that gives the entire team a boost of confidence: a first significant step in our development process that we knew would speed up once we got back onto European soil, with the opportunity to establish a more direct connection between on work at headquarters and track operations. Now we are taking on the French GP in the hopes of being able to take another step forward.”

FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
"In Spain we had a great weekend, completed by positive post-race tests. We can feel satisfied with our achievements so far, with the two championship points Bautista has earned. We have shown that we are able to easily battle to be in the top 15, so now it would be nice if Melandri could bring home his first points of the season in France. After all, Le Mans represents another important milestone in our path of development, so we'll keep working to reduce the gap behind our adversaries as we have done in recent races.”

ALVARO BAUTISTA
“At Jerez we worked very well throughout the entire race weekend. At Le Mans we'll be taking on a track which is similar in many ways, so I think that the data we collected in Spain may be a good base to start from. In the tests on Monday I was able to try the new seamless gearbox for the first time. It's a shame we won't have it already for Le Mans because it is already at a great level, but I'm confident that even with the current version of our bike we'll be able to do well this weekend. I have great memories of last year's race where I took the third step of the podium. The goal this round is the same as the previous races: to keep reducing the gap behind the other riders that are ahead of us and to be as competitive as possible. The track has a lot of direction changes, so we'll be working hard to obtain an agile and easy to ride bike. For the rest we'll try to stay as focused as possible in order to be ready for any conditions since weather conditions often change quickly here at Le Mans. The second championship point earned at Jerez provides great motivation for the entire team. We're ready to work hard.”

MARCO MELANDRI
“The Le Mans track is quite particularly, but I've always liked it. In fact, every time I've raced here I've done well. In this round it would be nice to try and get into the points. I think this is a realistic goal within our reach whilst waiting for important technical changes that will allow me to take more significant steps forward. The weather forecast seems pretty good so, as always, we'll be working as hard as we can and taking the weekend one day at a time, ready to take advantage of every opportunity.”

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