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Aprilia announces full MotoGP comeback in 2016

Aprilia set to join Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki as an official MotoGP manufacturer in 2016.
Aprilia will return to MotoGP as a full factory entry, in 2016.

Roberto Colaninno, chairman of parent company Piaggio, announced the move during the International Motorcycle Exhibition in Milan.

"We have two years of hard work ahead of us," said Colaninno. "The aim is to win, as we did in Superbike."

Aprilia last ran an official MotoGP team in 2004, when Shane Byrne and Jeremy McWilliams raced the three-cylinder RS Cube prototype.

The factory then became the first to withdraw from the four-stroke MotoGP era due to financial reasons, with Kawasaki and Suzuki later following suit.

Aprilia regained an unofficial presence in the premier-class under the new Claiming Rule Team regulations in 2012, offering a modified version of its WSBK-winning RSV4 superbike for privateers.

The 'ART' has won the CRT MotoGP class for the past two seasons with Aspar's Aleix Espargaro. Aprilia intends to significantly upgrade the machine in the face of new competition from Honda and Yamaha under the revised 'open class' rules for 2014.

But the successful ART project has been rocked by the recent departure of Aprilia racing boss Gigi Dall'Igna to Ducati. Due to uncertainly over Aprilia's commitment to MotoGP in the post-Dall'Igna era, the Aspar and Cardion AB teams have already jumped ship to the new Honda Production Racer.

It is perhaps for that reason that Aprilia has decided to reveal its 2016 intentions, in the hope of convincing prospective 2014 teams that it is serious about MotoGP.

PBM, which runs one ART alongside its own bike, is the only existing Aprilia team yet to confirm its 2014 machinery.

Aprilia - which for many years dominated the now extinct 125cc and 250cc grand prix classes - will join present manufacturers Honda, Yamaha, Ducati in having an official factory MotoGP team, with Suzuki also due to return in 2015.

An official factory entry means that a MotoGP manufacturer can run its own ECU software, but faces a four-litre disadvantaged in terms of race fuel and is allowed only five rather than twelve engines changes per season, relative to the 'open class' bikes.

However those rules may have changed by 2016.

Former MotoGP race winner Marco Melandri will join Sylvain Guintoli in Aprilia's official WSBK team next season.

Tagged as: Aprilia

Related Pictures

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Laverty`s Aprilia, Australian WSBK 2013
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Sam Lowes makes MotoGP debut for Aprilia
Sam Lowes tests Aprilia
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Bradl`s bike with wings, Italian MotoGP 2016
Aprilia winglets, French MotoGP 2016
Aprilia winglets, French MotoGP 2016
Aprilia winglets, French MotoGP 2016
Aprilia winglets, French MotoGP 2016
Bradl`s Aprilia, French MotoGP 2016
Aprilia winglet, French MotoGP 2016

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