The Aprilia MotoGP team is set to test its 2016 bike for the first time in a private Qatar test in February, after electing to take its 2015 machine to Malaysia.
Reports emerged earlier this week that the Gresini-run team's preparations for 2016 had been delayed, and that the new RS-GP would not be ready in time for the first official pre-season test at Sepang on 1 February.
The Italian manufacturer will be present with race riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl on last year’s bike, with a focus on gaining further mileage with the new Michelin tyres and control electronic software.
Instead, Motorsport.com understands that the 2016 RS-GP will be shaken down in a private test at Qatar around the same time as the second official test at Phillip Island, which starts on 17 February.
There, the objective will be to ready the new bike in time for its first official appearance at Qatar’s third and final pre-season test on 2 March, ahead of the opening round there on 20 March.
It is understood that Yamaha test rider Colin Edwards will also be conducting private testing at Qatar around the same time as Aprilia, specifically to hone the control electronics.