Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com
Aprilia has been racing in the (road racing) World Championship since the mid-1980’s and is currently the most successful racing brand in FIM history (after knocking MV Agusta off the top spot in 2010). Aprilia’s parent company Piaggio Group also owns Derbi, and the bikes raced under that marque’s flag in the World Championship are almost exactly the same machine campaigned with the Aprilia nameplate. However, when the new Moto3 class is introduced (replacing the current 125cc two-strokes with 450cc single-cylinder four-strokes) in 2012, the Italian marque has decided to not participate.
When the Moto2 class was first announced, the rumor mill produced for us – and Aprilia eventually confirmed – the idea that Aprilia would continue in that series by providing their own chassis for the spec engines (Honda). That idea was quickly quashed when Aprilia announced they had no plans to race in Moto2 and that they might even depart the 125cc GP class. Of course, as we all know, they continued to race 125GP and have remained extremely competitive. For Aprilia, though, the Moto3 class is just too far away from their core designs to be worthwhile – they do not even have a 450cc single-cylinder four-stroke upon which to build a competitive race bike.
This leaves the storied firm without a place in the FIM Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship series, unless they pursue the new (and as yet not finalized) FIM MotoGP rule change pushing the capacity limit to 1000cc. For now, race manager Gigi Dall’Igna says the factory is focusing on World Superbike and MotoGP can wait until they are ready. One thing is certain, when Aprilia does return to MotoGP they will be a serious contender; one hopes they will not be absent for long.