21 October 2013
Spain WSBK: Aprilia seal third Manufacturers’ title, Ducati last
Aprilia picks up its third World Superbike Manufacturers' title in four years, but the arrival of the 1199 Panigale sees Ducati end the season in last position.
Despite missing out on the coveted riders' crown, Aprilia is still celebrating after successfully defending its World Superbike Championship Manufacturers' title at Jerez.
Far from reeling in the absence of Max Biaggi – who was pivotal to Aprilia's previous title wins in 2010 and 2012 -, the Italian firm began the season in style with a maximum points' haul courtesy of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli, and didn't look back.
Indeed, though BMW and Kawasaki both got close at times in 2013, Aprilia never once deviated from the top of the Manufacturers' standings, the combination of Laverty and Guintoli, along with satellite riders Davide Giugliano, Michel Fabrizio and Toni Elias, ensuring they were largely unchallenged.
“The Manufacturer Championship title is an extremely valuable wreath that has various significance,” said Romano Albesiano, who has this week taken over from Ducati-bound Gigi Dall'Igna as Aprilia Racing Manager. “It is a testament of design excellence, the design of our RSV4 which has dominated on the track for years. This product is an all-Italian pride.
“For me, after leading development of the RSV4 street version with our engineers, it is always very exciting to see it win a world title on the track. This year we participated in the definitive consecration of the RSV4 as the best new generation super sport bike.
“The consistent performance demonstrated by all the riders, both Laverty and Guintoli on the factory team and the satellite Althea Team and Red Devils riders, has led Aprilia to dominate the Manufacturer Standings from the first to the last race and has allowed both our official riders to compete for the Rider Title down to the last race.
“This round at Jerez is my first one as Aprilia Racing manager, so the praise and my thanks can only go to those who, on every level, worked on this extraordinary project, making it victorious for so many seasons.”
Though not quite the fairytale double, Tom Sykes's Kawasaki can still take great satisfaction from finishing runner-up in the Manufacturers' reckoning. Indeed, the Japanese firm has never won a WSBK Manufacturers' title, so second place marks their best result since finishing in the same position back in 1994.
Similarly, BMW has also never won a WSBK Manufacturers' title, though this may prove to be their last chance having confirmed it is ending its factory involvement from this point. Despite this, third in the standings with six wins still represents the significant progress BMW has made since making its debut in only 2009.
Just to compound Honda's dismal final weekend at Jerez, where Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio struggled to even score points, Suzuki would duly nip ahead into fourth overall at the final time of asking thanks in large part to the brave effort of Leon Camier.
Bringing up the rear, meantime, is Ducati, the Italian marque's struggle to get the new 1199 Panigale dialled in hampered by a series of set-up issues and costly injuries for its riders, including Carlos Checa. The most successful manufacturer in the history of World Superbikes, finishing sixth and last of the full-time manufacturers is likely to be felt deeply in Bologna.
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