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FINAL TWO DAYS OF TESTING AT PHILLIP ISLAND FOR THE WORLD SBK CHAMPION APRILIA BEFORE THE OFFICIAL START OF THE 2014 SEASON

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MARCO MELANDRI WAS FINALLY ABLE TO WORK WITH FAVOURABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS AND IS READY FOR BATTLE.

LOTS OF LAPS WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL ISSUE FOR SYLVAIN GUINTOLI, CONFIDENT THAT THE PROBLEM WITH HIS RIGHT SHOULDER HAS NOW BEEN RESOLVED.

Phillip Island (Australia), 18 February 2014 – There are only a few days left before the start of Superbike 2014 which will open hostilities this weekend at Phillip Island where riders and teams have already been busy for two days of testing.

For Aprilia Racing - the Italian Reigning Manufacturer World Champion and winner of 5 world titles in 4 seasons - this was the first opportunity to lap in good climatic conditions after the negative impact the weather had on the winter sessions at Portimao and Jerez. So some intense work was done without any hindrances in order to be as ready as possible when the lights turn green for the first time this season.

For Marco Melandri, in his first year astride the Aprilia RSV4, these two days can be considered positive in no uncertain terms. The rider from Ravenna, in addition to finishing the tests with the fourth best time, put in 123 laps to complete a testing schedule aimed at “moulding” the powerful Italian superbike to his needs. Consistently fast, Marco focused primarily on finding his best race pace, trying to optimise the long distance setup. In fact, tyre wear is an incredibly important factor on the fast and demanding Australian track. Being consistent throughout the entire race will therefore be a must. Despite the good times he put in, Melandri knows that there is still room for improvement and he'll be working with his team on that from the first test sessions on Friday.

Marco Melandri: “We were finally able to lap in good weather! I'm pleased because we completed the scheduled programme, gathering a lot of information from the test sessions. Now we just have to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order to find the best place to start for the weekend. I think I have a good race pace. There are still a few spots on the track that give me problems but I'm confident that we'll be able to improve. I need to focus on the fast lap for the qualifiers because starting from at least the front two rows will be very important. I definitely can't wait to finally get back to serious business”.

The unknown factor for Sylvain Guintoli was without a doubt his physical condition after the double surgery on his right shoulder. From this point of view the 92 laps the French rider put in confirm that his recovery is complete. Sylvain was also positive about these tests in terms of performance. The pace he demonstrated even in poor grip conditions places him among the potential key players for the first round of the season. Guintoli's feeling with the bike are similar to those last year when he took a win and a second place on his maiden race astride the Aprilia RSV4 which placed him at the top of the rider standings.

Sylvain Guintoli: “The most important thing is that I am feeling much better physically. The previous tests at Jerez went well too, but after the crash there and when I got back home my shoulder was hurting for a few days. Here, on the other hand, I took a lot of laps over these two days, doing the tests that we had planned and even putting in some decent times. In the afternoon, in similar conditions to what we'll probably have for the races, my RSV4 performed very well both in terms of general settings and tyre wear management. I'm confident and, just like last year, I'm ready for battle”.

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