Reigning champions Aprilia head into the new season with few notable changes to what proved to be a formidable package in 2010.

The compact RSV-4 was a revelation last year in the hands of Max Biaggi, a level of performance that suggests Aprilia once more start as favourites for 2011.

A fairly low profile pre-season build up during which Biaggi has focused his attentions on the arrival of his second child doesn't disguise the fact he remains the man mentioned first by those asked who they consider to be their biggest rival for 2011.

Rumours swirling that he was considering hanging up his leathers - and pirate flag - in favour of a nappies and restless nights may have been temporarily quashed by the confirmation he will race on for the next two seasons, many of those rivals will no doubt hope fatherhood has mellowed the 'Emperor' all the same.

Alongside Biaggi once more will be Leon Camier, the Englishman returning for a second season as a reward for an impressive maiden campaign that was cut frustratingly short by injury.

Fully recovered now, Camier should be targeting race wins in 2011, and while a title challenge may be asking a little too much, he has a great opportunity to graduate from Biaggi's wingman to genuine contender.

Following its run to the title in 2010, it is little surprise to see Biaggi's former steed back on the grid in 2011 once more, but what makes this effort all the more interesting is the new man riding it.

A few theories did the rounds as to why Noriyuki Haga was unable to romp to the WSBK title as he was tipped to do so pre-season in 2010, but a change of low profile scenery could be the motivation he needs to claw his way back to his 2009 best.

The team itself - DFX and BRC under the PATA Racing banner - have made good strides over the last few years, while there is no doubting the pedigree of both man and machine.

What remains to be seen, however, is which Haga will turn up in 2011. The beginning of the end, or the start of a mighty return? It really could go either way....



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