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Enduro: 'Legend' Merriman jumps ship to Aprilia

1 January 1901

Four-times world Enduro champion Stefan Merriman will switch from Yamaha to Aprilia for the 2007 season.

The news is a major boost for the Italian manufacturer, which only returned to off-road racing - with a revolutionary twin cylinder design - in 2004. It won the Supermotard world championship at its first attempt and last year won the manufacturers' and riders' titles in the S2 class, but is yet to replicate those results on a full-dirt surface.

But if anyone can, Merriman can - the multi-talented Australian having excelled in national Trials, Supercross and Supersport racing before discovering his true calling in the harsh world of Enduro where he soon earned the nickname 'the Martian' for his out-of-this-world times.

World champion in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004, 2005 saw Merriman finish second in the E2 class while bad luck last season left him third, with three wins, raising his overall victory tally to an enormous 62. Merriman will now aim to become a winner on two-stroke, four-stroke singles and a four-stroke twin.

"After so much development work and experience building in 2006, the arrival of a world class champion like Merriman is an important step forward in our plans for 2007," said Aprilia brand manager Leo Francesco Mercanti. "Aprilia hopes to achieve ambitious results in Enduro racing and we are delighted that this amazing Australian, a living legend in the discipline, has chosen to race with one of our twin cylinder machines. I'm sure that Stefan Merriman will be a trump card in the Enduro racing game, and will give us a really competitive and successful season."

Merriman will join Nicolas Paganon and Luigi Seguy in the Aprilia team.