Aprilia Returns to GP
In 2004, Aprilia exited competition in MotoGP ending its presence in the premier class, but has recently announced plans to re-enter MotoGP competition in the 2015 season.
This is not to say Aprilia has been on the sidelines after leaving MotoGP — it has been active in World Superbike since 1999 and the brand has captured five World SBK titles (two rider, three manufacturer) with the RSV4 in that time — as well as 39 victories and 97 podium finishes.
Lesser known of the company’s history in competition is its off-road-trials activities that stretch back to four Italian Off-road national titles in 1975 and its 1992 individual world title with Tommy Ahvala and the manufacturer’s title that same year.
The brand has claimed a total of seven world titles in Supermoto including four manufacturer’s titles in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011 and three individual rider titles: J. Giraudo in 2004, T. Van den Bosch in 2006 and Adrien Chareyre in 2011.
In Grand Prix road racing, Aprilia debuted in 1985 in the 125 cc class and debuted in the 250 cc class in 1988. In the ensuing years, it claimed eight individual rider world titles in the 125 cc class and eleven individual rider titles in the 250 cc class — three by Max Biaggi, two by Valentino Rossi, two by Jorge Lorenzo and one by Alvaro Bautista – who will ride with Aprilia in 2015 MotoGP – among them. In all, that represented 294 victories and 19 manufacturer’s titles.
In the late 1990s, Aprilia made a bid to contest the 500 cc class, as well and with the advent of the 990cc MotoGP class Aprilia came out with a 3-cylinder prototype, the RS Cube. Despite fielding excellent riders in Regis Laconi, Colin Edwards, Noriyuki Haga, Garry McCoy and Jeremy McWilliams, Aprilia did not enjoy the success it had seen in the smaller displacement classes.
After the 2011 season with the advent of Moto2 and Moto3, the factory left competition in the smaller displacement categories. Involvement in the World Championship continued with the Italian company serving as a CRT supplier in the premier class with their ART machine being used by Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet in the Aspar team – and this year with Danilo Petrucci (Octo IodaRacing Team) in the Open category.
In total, Aprilia has taken a total of 52 world championships across the range of competition: 25 individual rider titles, 27 manufacturer’s titles and has claimed a total of 332 victories.
With that kind of experience, there can be but little doubt that Aprilia will bring an exceptionally strong challenge to the competition in the2015 season.
Aprilia have been part of Piaggio Group since 2004 and its return to MotoGP is done in collaboration with Gresini. While all the details of the 2015 effort have not been finalized, it has been announced that Alvaro Bautista will pilot one of the team bikes in 2015.
Aprilia’s Romano Albesiano, Sporting Managing Director will off-track management, working with Gresini Racing manager Fausto Gresini. Gresini was himself once an Aprilia rider, having competed on the factory’s machinery in the 125cc class in 1989.
For more on Aprilia and its racing heritage and future plans, see: HYPERLINK “http://www.aprilia.com/gateway/default.asp” http://www.aprilia.com/gateway/default.asp