Max Biaggi is confident the lessons learned from Aprilia's first season of World Superbike racing in 2009 gives them the right to be confident heading into 2010.
Aprilia and Biaggi were revelations in 2009, the Italian manufacturer, returning to WSBK competition after a seven year hiatus, proving instantly competitive from the opening round before Biaggi took an emotional victory at Brno.
It was a performance made all the more significant by the team's ability to overcome a lack of initial data around certain circuits to be amongst the front runners come race day. Furthermore, the continually evolving RSV-4 would prove to be one of the most reliable bikes on the grid.
It means Biaggi, who would end up fourth in the overall standings, and Aprilia have been tipped for a title tilt in 2010, particularly as the company is throwing much of its weight behind the project having withdrawn from 250cc/Moto2 competition.
Speaking at the launch of the 2010 RSV-4, which will come with backing from Alitalia this season, the former MotoGP race winner stopped short of mentioning a title challenge, but did warn rivals the team head into the new season with far greater knowledge than in 2009.
Aprilia did a fantastic job in 2009, we made giant strides from a technical standpoint, which were made possible by the whole team and by the work that let the debuting RSV4 make progress race after race. The win at Brno was just the crowning moment of a continuous process of growth.
“Of course, we were the great surprise of the 2009 season, and I am really happy with the results; nobody could ever have predicted that we would be so competitive at our debut, nobody would ever have expected a fourth place season finish.
“And yet I still feel as if the greatest satisfactions are still to come, we haven't reached the top yet - only a win will really crown it all for me. We are now facing the forthcoming season armed with more knowledge, more experience on the circuits and with the awareness of our potential.”
“The presentation of a new season, of a bike with new colours, is always very emotional for a rider - it's like witnessing the birth of a living creature,” he said. “It will be an honour to carry these prestigious colours onto the circuits of the whole world - a tricolour that will make both the bike and team unique.”
Biaggi also welcomed new team-mate Leon Camier, the Roman adding that he is confident the young Briton will be a perfect 'wingman' for him in 2010.
“We also have a new team member: Leon comes from the tough British championship, and he certainly has all the right cards to become the strong wingman that both I and the team need.”