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Aprilia boss opens up about MotoGP return

Aprilia's much discussed earlier-than-planned MotoGP return in 2015 is set to be officially confirmed very soon, according to Romano Albesiano.
Aprilia's plans to re-enter MotoGP in 2015 are set to be confirmed in the coming weeks as Romano Albesiano revealed more about the Italian firm's ambitious plans to return to motorcycle racing's premier class.

The Noale factory initially announced it would return to MotoGP in an official capacity in 2016 but recent speculation has suggested it will bring its return forward by one year.

When asked by whether we could expect an imminent announcement regarding their return Aprilia Racing manager Albesiano replied, 'There could be'.

The Piaggio Group, which owns Aprilia, announced its intention to make its MotoGP comeback in 2016 during the Valencia test at the close of last year. However subsequent consideration has changed its outlook and brought plans forward.

“The change was made by doing some thinking,” he said. “We already decided to be there in the future. So one day we say, 'why wait?' The earlier the start the earlier you are competitive. We can accept to make one season as a laboratory season, a transition season, a season for learning with low expectations in terms of results. Once we accept this we said, OK we can do this and 2016 will be much better than if we started in 2016. Also, to be honest, some parts of the new regulations in Superbike caused us to make this decision.”

Albesiano went on to speak of the 2015 machine's specifications, confirming it will use pneumatic valves in the process. Even so, he says there will still be particular emphasis placed on the forthcoming 2016 machine too.

“We're working on a seamless gearbox with a new technology that comes from our competitors. We will race the 'Factory 2' category [Factory with Open class concessions, the same as Ducati and Suzuki] so we will race with our own software. There will be new bodywork and a new fairing. It will be quite a new bike but still not 100 percent a prototype. For example the crankcases will the RSV-4 crankcases but [they'll be] very close to MotoGP [specification]. The year after we will come with the brand new bike.”

“It's very tough for us because we are making a bike for 2015. We have to develop this bike during the season and at the same time we have to develop the 2016 bike, which is a totally new bike. It will be a lot of work and there will have to be priorities. The first part of the season we will develop the 2015 bike and then from the half of the season we will probably quit the development of this bike and push very much with this one [the 2016 spec Aprilia].”

Rumours surrounding Aprilia's rider line up so far have pointed to a team consisting of Marco Melandri and Alvaro Bautista, with long-time Honda customers Gresini Racing assuming the role of preparing the machines.

Albesiano wouldn't confirm this, but when pressed on whether their riders for the forthcoming season had been chosen he said, “I'll say that fifty percent of the job has been done.”

Tagged as: Aprilia , Albesiano

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September 06, 2014 4:26 PM

With a new bike in 2016, it makes perfect sense to run just about anything in 2015. That way, when the new bike arrives you have a team & riders that have already been together for a year to start making it competitive. Besides, the rules allow them to test & develop individual components for the 2016 bike on the 2015 bike. Introducing a new bike, new team, new riders, etc all at the same time is far too many variables & it'll take 6 months before they even start working efficiently. Smart thinking all round from Aprilia.


September 06, 2014 4:22 PM

JimmyTheRealOne: I am VERY eager to see how a glorified RSV4 will fare against full-blown prototypes. .
Err, have you not been watching for the past couples of years??? It was called CRT. Yawn.

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