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View Full Version : THE TRUTH: The inside line on Aprilia’s new superbike…



italyscarab
04-15-2006, 11:34 PM
Give me the props as the mag hasn't even hit the shelfs yet. I can post the entire article if anyone is interested and says please. I am sure that Clarkie will tell everyone that he already knew about.

FROM: May 2006 Motorcycle Sport & Leisure

An interview with Leo Mercanti new-brand manager for Aprilia.


The V-four engine will in fact be a 75-degree V-four, although the 450/550 V-twin it's based on is a 77
degree V.
Aprilia can make it slightly narrower as the fuel-injection throttle bodies are smaller than on the
V-twins, so a little less space is needed inside the V. However, this is as narrow as they can go. They
would have liked an even narrower angle for more compactness, but the inlet tracts would have to
curve more, which would reduce the breathing efficiency too much.
Judging by the bore to stroke ratios of the 450 and 550 (which are 1.45 and 1.53 respectively), the
V-four superbike will have bore and stroke dimensions of around 78mm x 52mm for 994cc, and it's
likely to be a dry sump design, favoured by Aprilia for reducing the height of the engine. The oil is
likely to be stored in the frame.
The V-four will also have chain-driven overhead cams with four-valves per cylinder at a narrow
included valve angle – the inlet tracts are very steep as they fit in the V. Note the 450/550 twin is single
overhead cam, but the superbike will be double overhead cam for more power and higher revs.
The V-four will be liquid-cooled and fuel injected of course, possibly with fly-by-wire, although
this isn't confirmed. The gearbox will be a stacked design to keep the engine as short as possible
and will include an RSV-type pneumatic slipper clutch.
Power output isn't yet known, but to be competitive it will have to make 175bhp (the RSV makes a
claimed 142bhp), which is perfectly possible with this design. The rpm ceiling will be around
14,000rpm, max power at about 13,000rpm.
Although official launch dates have not yet been set, the new model is expected to make its debut
at this year’s Cologne show.

Beau1K
04-15-2006, 11:40 PM
WOW! I had no idea they were that far along with it. Sounds cool!

clarkie49
04-16-2006, 08:27 AM
I am sure that Clarkie will tell everyone that he already knew about.
hey it's not my fault poeople tell me stuff that I cant pass on :D


Power output isn't yet known, but to be competitive it will have to make 175bhp (the RSV makes a
claimed 142bhp), which is perfectly possible with this design.
I heard the engine had been on a dyno (engine not chassis) 6 months ago and was making 180-190hp at the crank :burnout:

The problem is that isnt enough, you need to be making 210-220hp+ at the rear wheel to be in the game. Mark Ledesma in Phoenix Arizona is making 180hp+ just from pistons and cams in the CBR1000RR, he is using cams and pistons (2-ring drop in piston) that are supplied from Ten Kate via Rick Hobbs at Erion Honda.

My GSXR1000 is making close to 180hp in Superstock trim, so you know that the AMA/WSBK Suzuki's are making 220hp+ and that is a huge hill to climb. The biggest thing a 200hp engine needs is to be able to spin up like a 600, this year the biggest complaint from the Ducati guys is that their Twin is losing out under acceleration against to the 4's :burnout:

Turpentine
04-16-2006, 09:11 AM
The whole article Please :)

italyscarab
04-16-2006, 09:20 PM
As you have no doubt noticed,
flicking through our news pages,
Italian motorcycle manufacturers
have been a little down in the
dumps of late.
As we went to press, Ducati were still in talks
with potential investors; Proton, current owners of
MV Agusta, were discussing putting the marque
up for sale and hopes of the Laverda SFC1000
making it to the showrooms were fading fast.
One Italian manufacturer, however, is bucking
the trend. Aprilia.
In December 2004, the Piaggio Group snapped
up the ailing manufacturer and has since spent a
small fortune getting it back on its wheels.
So far we’ve seen the launch of the updated
Tuono, RSV range and RS125, and things show no
signs of slowing down. Aprilia’s plans go well
beyond the simple revival of old projects, far from it,
but with a lack of model range, a potential customer
base unsure about the marque's future, and other
manufacturers muscling in on areas of the market
Aprilia previously held, there’s a long way to go.

Their new-brand manager isn’t afraid of the
challenge, however, and is determined to turn
things around. His plans are so bold in fact, that
we can expect to see no fewer than 20 new
models in the next three years, including: a V-four
600cc middleweight, a 75-degree V-four sports
bike that will be raced in the 2008 World Superbike
Championship, and much, much more.
Meet Leo Mercanti, the man who’s on a mission
to turn things around.
MSL: What’s your history with Aprilia?
LM: I first started working for Aprilia in 1982. I saw
Aprilia grow from a small firm producing maybe 5-
6000 50cc mopeds, into a manufacturer producing
and selling around 300,000 vehicles a year. I saw
Aprilia get into racing and win 26 world
championships. It was a dream. Then in late 2001, I
left Aprilia to join Piaggio.
MSL: Is it true you originally left Aprilia because
you disagreed with former boss Ivano Beggio’s
strategies?
LM: Yes, but we can put it a little softer than that. I
could tell that Aprilia was taking a turn for the
worse. I was convinced we should go a certain
way, but management thought we should go
another. It was an amicable split, but from that
moment onwards my worst fears came true.
MSL: What factors do you feel put Aprilia in the
position they have been over the past few years?
LM: The turn of the millennium marked a difficult
time for the market. Aprilia wasn’t the only
manufacturer to suffer from financial difficulties.
At the start of the 90s the market for smallcapacity
scooters and motorcycles grew at a dizzy
rate. But by the end of the decade – from 1999 to
2001 – the market changed drastically, especially
in Italy. The number of bikes shifted didn’t change,
it was the type of bike: there were much fewer
50cc scooters being sold and many more larger-
capacity bikes. Aprilia should have been prepared
for this, but it didn’t have the means or the budgets
to change and produce vehicles that would reach
the market on time to meet the new trends. So,
Aprilia felt the change more than others. True,
Aprilia was investing heavily in big motorcycles,
but it didn’t have a good range of products.
Becoming part of the Piaggio Group means it can
focus on areas where in the past it was weak, and
produce a much wider range of motorcycles.
MSL: How did you find yourself working back
at Aprilia, effectively replacing your former
boss Beggio?
LM: I was given the task to rapidly turn around
Derbi, the Spanish scooter and small-capacity
motorcycle manufacturer that Piaggio had
acquired. It was a success – within two years the
struggling firm returned to the market with a
strong range of products. Then, using my
experience and knowledge of Aprilia’s history, and
my understanding of the brand, I found myself
back to where I started – working for Aprilia.
Again, my task is to achieve a fast turn-around.
MSL: How do you propose to achieve this
fast turnaround?
LM: By relaunching the brand. Aprilia is strong:
this year we presented nine new models, although
I obviously can’t claim I created them. You don’t
create a bike in nine months. So far Piaggio has
given Aprilia the means to carry out projects it
already had in the bag. Bikes like the latest Tuono,
RSV 1000 and RS125. They’re all beautiful bikes –
sophisticated and sporty with high performance.
Aprilia has never stopped doing the job it has
always done well; I’m not saying our work was
already done, but we certainly found ourselves in
a strong position. We gave an existing team of
people the means to realise Aprilia’s longstanding
projects.

MSL: How will you prevent Aprilia from getting into
similar difficulties again?
LM: As I said earlier, by investing in a broad range
of new models. Aprilia became part of Piaggio with
the mission to become a sophisticated firm that
focuses on motorcycle technology, design and
innovation, and that continues the Aprilia racing
tradition. Aprilia will soon produce a complete
range of motorcycles, from 125 to 1000cc.
MSL: Do you plan to bridge the gap in the
middleweight market?
LM: A 600 is most definitely on the cards, but it will
be different from the Suzukis, Yamahas, Hondas
and Triumphs. These are beautiful bikes, but they
all look the same and have revvy engines and
extreme chassis for the racetrack. We want to
build a middleweight bike that is more useable and
fun in everyday conditions.

MSL: Will Aprilia’s middleweight bike be aimed
more at the Honda Hornet or CBR600RR end of
the market?
LM: I don’t like categories. The Tuono may be a
naked, but it comes with high levels of
performance that are on a par with those of a race
replica sportsbike, if not higher. So if you ask me
whether the bike will have great performance and
handling, I say yes. If you ask me whether the bike
will be comfortable for everyday use, I say yes. But
this is all I’m saying.
MSL: Will there be only one type of middleweight,
or will you build a sports and a naked version?
LM: Over the next three years we will introduce 20
new models, with an investment of more than 700-
million euros poured only into research and
development. Exactly what these bikes will be,
you’ll have to wait and see.

MSL: Will the middleweight engine use the
MotoGP bike’s inline-triple layout, or will it be
based on the 450cc, V-twin motor of the new
RXV dirt bike and SXV supermoto?
LM: This is a good question. The V is in our
philosophy and allows compact and short
dimensions, but it doesn’t have to be just two
cylinders and we are also tied to our MotoGP
technology. So it will be a battle, but it will be built
by Aprilia – our MotoGP experience allowed us to
develop a strong R&D team, so although we will
continue our long-standing partnership with Rotax
(which is behind Aprilia’s RSV Mille and RS125
engines(, we will build more of our own engines.
MSL: Will Aprilia build the engines for all its
new models?
LM: This is where Aprilia is changing the most.
Around 10 years ago, Aprilia used to buy all the

engines fitted to its bikes from external partners.
There is an ongoing collaboration with Rotax to build
engines suitable for Aprilia – for instance the RSV’s
1000cc V-twin that was developed by a joint
Rotax/Aprilia team and more recently upgraded it for
the 2006 RSV. However, Aprilia has built up a wealth
of knowledge through years of experience in fourstroke
racing, first with WSB when it developed the
Aprilia twin-cylinder engine, then in MotoGP when it
developed the three-cylinder engine. During this
time, Aprilia developed people with the right skills
to design new, high-performance engines, and
this has been strengthened further thanks to
Piaggio’s industrial know-how. We are now building
extremely sophisticated engines, for instance
those of the highly innovative SXV and RXV, the first
V-twin bikes in the world of supermoto and
off-roading respectively.
MSL: Yes, and they are beautiful bikes, but racing
plays a huge part in the sale of these bikes, whose
main market is in the US. So, isn’t it a huge
problem that KTM have secured a V-twin racing
ban from AMA?
LM: When a war breaks out, you either fight like a
man or hide in the trenches. KTM has dug a trench
by protecting its territory through regulation. Before
producing the RXV and SXV, we asked the FIM
whether regulations would allow us to race V-twins
and it said yes. KTM is now claiming they’re too
expensive and powerful, and AMA is upholding the
complaint. The twin cylinder bikes may cost eight
per cent more, but the engines aren’t as stressed,
so they cost less to maintain, which makes up for
the extra initial cost. They’re also quieter than
singles, which is a huge benefit in the fraught offroad
world. So, we are fighting the US racing ban
and making sure it doesn’t spread to Europe.
MSL: Did the MotoGP investment contribute to
Aprilia’s difficult financial situation?

LM: Even the cost of the photocopier paper
contributed. Everything that represented a cost
contributed: small costs a little, big costs a lot.
MSL: Will Aprilia return to big class racing?
LM: Yes. In 2008 we’ll return to the World Superbike
Championship. Aprilia boasts a racing history that is
second to none: in the past 12 years Aprilia has
won 26 world championships. Today, Aprilia is
present in two GP classes, and will be present in all
off-road categories. Racing is part of Aprilia.
MSL: What bike will you race in WSB?
LM: A 1000cc. Let me guess, you’re going to ask
me about the engine layout…
MSL: Yes! What will it be?
LM: I haven’t even told my wife yet. Mind you,
she’s never asked. We’ll have a four-cylinder
engine. A V-four, if you must know.
MSL: WSB rules say racers must be based on road
models, will that mean you will have a new Aprilia
production V-four sportsbike?
LM: Yes, it will be in production on time for the
2008 WSB season.
MSL: What does this mean for Aprilia’s current
flagship sportsbike; the recently revamped
RSV 1000?
LM: The RSV 1000 will always remain in the Aprilia
range. It will be the choice model for riders who
aren’t bothered with spec sheets, but who want a
bike that is accessible and a pleasure to ride on the
roads – even though the twin-cylinder engine may
give a few tenths of a second away to the fourcylinder
rivals on the racetrack. However, to reach
those performance levels, these superbikes are less
accessible and require expert riders; take them
away from the racetrack and they’re less enjoyable
to ride, too. So, for the customer who looks at
Aprilia for state-of-the-art technology and
performance and who asks: ‘Why don’t you make
the ultimate sportsbike that is more, more, more?’
This bike will be our answer. We will run our V-four
superbike alongside the V-twin RSV to give the
market our interpretation of an ultimate production
sportsbike. By 2008, we’ll have the definitive massproduction
version of our WSB racer.
It will be a sophisticated motorcycle, more so
than the RSV, so it will be more expensive – but
not too much. Aprilia has proved with the RSV that
it can build exclusive motorcycles fitted with
everything that is best on the market, at market
prices. We were the first to fit Öhlins forks, forged
aluminium wheels and radial callipers to a basemodel
production bike. Although our product
wasn’t cheap, neither was it expensive. This is the
idea we’d like to bring forward with this new bike.
MSL: So, there is obviously a clear sales strategy
behind opting to race in WSB rather than MotoGP?
LM: To invest in MotoGP at this stage would be to
put all our resources into a prototype machine
with premature technology that is unlikely to hit
production. Aprilia’s priority is to invest in the
market, and WSB will give us the opportunity to
broaden our model range. Of course, we got out of
MotoGP at a difficult time for Aprilia, but our
experience also proved that taking part in MotoGP
isn’t at everyone’s reach and demands specific
priorities. You either have major sponsors or a lot
of money. Without money you don’t get anywhere,
and we need to prioritise our market strategy, so,
we can’t afford to be in MotoGP at this time. Our
experience with the four-stroke MotoGP machines
has also shown how the costs compare to the
two-stroke 250cc class – and it’s at least five times
as much, and probably much more. So the industry
needs to be very careful: switching to four-stroke
machines in the smaller classes, too, could mean
the death of these championships.
MSL: Do you believe there is a future for the 125
and 250cc two-stroke GP classes?
LM: Absolutely. We are lobbying to extend the
existence of these classes until beyond 2009, and
it seems that it is going in this direction. It’s a way
of providing teams with very high-performance
machines that are accessible in terms of
technology and budgets. It acts as a school for all
those young riders who start in 125 at 15 years of
age, then move into 250 between the ages of 16
and 18, then reach MotoGP by the time they’re 19
to 20 years old. The two-stroke 125 and 250 bikes
provide the necessary experience to get into
MotoGP, where the bikes are sophisticated
prototypes that require strong analytical and setup
skills. Other racing classes simply don’t provide
the necessary experience because they don’t offer
the same level of set-up variations. It’s a process
you have to go through, and the 125 and 250 twostroke
classes make it accessible and affordable.
MSL: Aprilia has always loved two-strokes, and it
worked with Orbital to create the clean, direct
injection Di-Tech engine. Might two-strokes make
a come back with this technology?
LM: So many people write to us asking why don’t
we make the RS250 anymore. But, in these days of
growing environmental concern, the easiest game
to play has been to penalise the two-stroke engine.
In the current climate, most people have come to
believe that four-strokes are better. Unfortunately,
the two-stroke has been portrayed as bad,
polluting and noisy; it’s become the black sheep.
I don’t exclude that developing technology won’t
change things once again: Di-Tech technology has
allowed us to build high-performance 50cc
scooters that are incredibly economical and clean.
MSL: Finally, there is a lot of excess capacity in
the Piaggio Group’s (which now comprises Moto
Guzzi, Derbi, Vespa and Aprilia) various factories.
Might you bring everything under the same roof
and close down Aprilia’s notorious Noale factory?
LM: The Piaggio Group wants to maintain every
individual marque’s brand identity, and part of this
means Moto Guzzi stays at Mandello del Lario,
Piaggio stays at Pontedera and Aprilia stays at
Noale. We won’t close any of the factories; instead,
if one of them is too full we might spill over into one
of our other sites, using up any spare capacity there.
However, the heart of Aprilia’s production will
always stay at Noale. And yes, we do have spare
capacity in that factory. But as you’ll have gathered
by now, we expect to use it all up very soon.

Kranok
04-18-2006, 04:18 PM
must say, almost brings tears of joy to mine eye.

duc slayer
04-18-2006, 05:04 PM
italyscarab that avatar is fucking hilarious :plus: :plus:

aprilia_nut
04-18-2006, 05:58 PM
Wow....... is that light at the end of the tunnell? or a speeding train?

Eyeque
04-18-2006, 06:31 PM
too much to digest...when can I get one? :)

Beau1K
04-18-2006, 06:39 PM
As you have no doubt noticed,
flicking through our news pages,
Italian motorcycle manufacturers
have been a little down in the
dumps of late.

As we went to press, Ducati were still in talks
with potential investors; Proton, current owners of
MV Agusta, were discussing putting the marque
up for sale and hopes of the Laverda SFC1000
making it to the showrooms were fading fast.
One Italian manufacturer, however, is bucking
the trend. Aprilia.

In December 2004, the Piaggio Group snapped
up the ailing manufacturer and has since spent a
small fortune getting it back on its wheels.
So far we’ve seen the launch of the updated
Tuono, RSV range and RS125, and things show no
signs of slowing down.

Aprilia’s plans go well
beyond the simple revival of old projects, far from it,
but with a lack of model range, a potential customer
base unsure about the marque's future, and other
manufacturers muscling in on areas of the market
Aprilia previously held, there’s a long way to go.

Their new-brand manager isn’t afraid of the
challenge, however, and is determined to turn
things around. His plans are so bold in fact, that
we can expect to see no fewer than 20 new
models in the next three years, including: a V-four
600cc middleweight, a 75-degree V-four sports
bike that will be raced in the 2008 World Superbike
Championship, and much, much more.

Meet Leo Mercanti, the man who’s on a mission to turn things around.

MSL: What’s your history with Aprilia?

LM: I first started working for Aprilia in 1982. I saw
Aprilia grow from a small firm producing maybe 5-
6000 50cc mopeds, into a manufacturer producing
and selling around 300,000 vehicles a year. I saw
Aprilia get into racing and win 26 world
championships. It was a dream. Then in late 2001, I
left Aprilia to join Piaggio.

MSL: Is it true you originally left Aprilia because
you disagreed with former boss Ivano Beggio’s
strategies?

LM: Yes, but we can put it a little softer than that. I
could tell that Aprilia was taking a turn for the
worse. I was convinced we should go a certain
way, but management thought we should go
another. It was an amicable split, but from that
moment onwards my worst fears came true.

MSL: What factors do you feel put Aprilia in the
position they have been over the past few years?

LM: The turn of the millennium marked a difficult
time for the market. Aprilia wasn’t the only
manufacturer to suffer from financial difficulties.
At the start of the 90s the market for smallcapacity
scooters and motorcycles grew at a dizzy
rate. But by the end of the decade – from 1999 to
2001 – the market changed drastically, especially
in Italy. The number of bikes shifted didn’t change,
it was the type of bike: there were much fewer
50cc scooters being sold and many more larger-
capacity bikes. Aprilia should have been prepared
for this, but it didn’t have the means or the budgets
to change and produce vehicles that would reach
the market on time to meet the new trends. So,
Aprilia felt the change more than others. True,
Aprilia was investing heavily in big motorcycles,
but it didn’t have a good range of products.
Becoming part of the Piaggio Group means it can
focus on areas where in the past it was weak, and
produce a much wider range of motorcycles.

MSL: How did you find yourself working back
at Aprilia, effectively replacing your former
boss Beggio?

LM: I was given the task to rapidly turn around
Derbi, the Spanish scooter and small-capacity
motorcycle manufacturer that Piaggio had
acquired. It was a success – within two years the
struggling firm returned to the market with a
strong range of products. Then, using my
experience and knowledge of Aprilia’s history, and
my understanding of the brand, I found myself
back to where I started – working for Aprilia.
Again, my task is to achieve a fast turn-around.

MSL: How do you propose to achieve this
fast turnaround?

LM: By relaunching the brand. Aprilia is strong:
this year we presented nine new models, although
I obviously can’t claim I created them. You don’t
create a bike in nine months. So far Piaggio has
given Aprilia the means to carry out projects it
already had in the bag. Bikes like the latest Tuono,
RSV 1000 and RS125. They’re all beautiful bikes –
sophisticated and sporty with high performance.
Aprilia has never stopped doing the job it has
always done well; I’m not saying our work was
already done, but we certainly found ourselves in
a strong position. We gave an existing team of
people the means to realise Aprilia’s longstanding
projects.

MSL: How will you prevent Aprilia from getting into
similar difficulties again?

LM: As I said earlier, by investing in a broad range
of new models. Aprilia became part of Piaggio with
the mission to become a sophisticated firm that
focuses on motorcycle technology, design and
innovation, and that continues the Aprilia racing
tradition. Aprilia will soon produce a complete
range of motorcycles, from 125 to 1000cc.

MSL: Do you plan to bridge the gap in the
middleweight market?

LM: A 600 is most definitely on the cards, but it will
be different from the Suzukis, Yamahas, Hondas
and Triumphs. These are beautiful bikes, but they
all look the same and have revvy engines and
extreme chassis for the racetrack. We want to
build a middleweight bike that is more useable and
fun in everyday conditions.

MSL: Will Aprilia’s middleweight bike be aimed
more at the Honda Hornet or CBR600RR end of
the market?

LM: I don’t like categories. The Tuono may be a
naked, but it comes with high levels of
performance that are on a par with those of a race
replica sportsbike, if not higher. So if you ask me
whether the bike will have great performance and
handling, I say yes. If you ask me whether the bike
will be comfortable for everyday use, I say yes. But
this is all I’m saying.

MSL: Will there be only one type of middleweight,
or will you build a sports and a naked version?

LM: Over the next three years we will introduce 20
new models, with an investment of more than 700-
million euros poured only into research and
development. Exactly what these bikes will be,
you’ll have to wait and see.

MSL: Will the middleweight engine use the
MotoGP bike’s inline-triple layout, or will it be
based on the 450cc, V-twin motor of the new
RXV dirt bike and SXV supermoto?

LM: This is a good question. The V is in our
philosophy and allows compact and short
dimensions, but it doesn’t have to be just two
cylinders and we are also tied to our MotoGP
technology. So it will be a battle, but it will be built
by Aprilia – our MotoGP experience allowed us to
develop a strong R&D team, so although we will
continue our long-standing partnership with Rotax
(which is behind Aprilia’s RSV Mille and RS125
engines(, we will build more of our own engines.

MSL: Will Aprilia build the engines for all its
new models?

LM: This is where Aprilia is changing the most.
Around 10 years ago, Aprilia used to buy all the
engines fitted to its bikes from external partners.
There is an ongoing collaboration with Rotax to build
engines suitable for Aprilia – for instance the RSV’s
1000cc V-twin that was developed by a joint
Rotax/Aprilia team and more recently upgraded it for
the 2006 RSV. However, Aprilia has built up a wealth
of knowledge through years of experience in fourstroke
racing, first with WSB when it developed the
Aprilia twin-cylinder engine, then in MotoGP when it
developed the three-cylinder engine. During this
time, Aprilia developed people with the right skills
to design new, high-performance engines, and
this has been strengthened further thanks to
Piaggio’s industrial know-how. We are now building
extremely sophisticated engines, for instance
those of the highly innovative SXV and RXV, the first
V-twin bikes in the world of supermoto and
off-roading respectively.

MSL: Yes, and they are beautiful bikes, but racing
plays a huge part in the sale of these bikes, whose
main market is in the US. So, isn’t it a huge
problem that KTM have secured a V-twin racing
ban from AMA?

LM: When a war breaks out, you either fight like a
man or hide in the trenches. KTM has dug a trench
by protecting its territory through regulation. Before
producing the RXV and SXV, we asked the FIM
whether regulations would allow us to race V-twins
and it said yes. KTM is now claiming they’re too
expensive and powerful, and AMA is upholding the
complaint. The twin cylinder bikes may cost eight
per cent more, but the engines aren’t as stressed,
so they cost less to maintain, which makes up for
the extra initial cost. They’re also quieter than
singles, which is a huge benefit in the fraught offroad
world. So, we are fighting the US racing ban
and making sure it doesn’t spread to Europe.

MSL: Did the MotoGP investment contribute to
Aprilia’s difficult financial situation?

LM: Even the cost of the photocopier paper
contributed. Everything that represented a cost
contributed: small costs a little, big costs a lot.

MSL: Will Aprilia return to big class racing?

LM: Yes. In 2008 we’ll return to the World Superbike
Championship. Aprilia boasts a racing history that is
second to none: in the past 12 years Aprilia has
won 26 world championships. Today, Aprilia is
present in two GP classes, and will be present in all
off-road categories. Racing is part of Aprilia.

MSL: What bike will you race in WSB?

LM: A 1000cc. Let me guess, you’re going to ask
me about the engine layout…

MSL: Yes! What will it be?

LM: I haven’t even told my wife yet. Mind you,
she’s never asked. We’ll have a four-cylinder
engine. A V-four, if you must know.

MSL: WSB rules say racers must be based on road
models, will that mean you will have a new Aprilia
production V-four sportsbike?

LM: Yes, it will be in production on time for the
2008 WSB season.

MSL: What does this mean for Aprilia’s current
flagship sportsbike; the recently revamped
RSV 1000?

LM: The RSV 1000 will always remain in the Aprilia
range. It will be the choice model for riders who
aren’t bothered with spec sheets, but who want a
bike that is accessible and a pleasure to ride on the
roads – even though the twin-cylinder engine may
give a few tenths of a second away to the fourcylinder
rivals on the racetrack. However, to reach
those performance levels, these superbikes are less
accessible and require expert riders; take them
away from the racetrack and they’re less enjoyable
to ride, too. So, for the customer who looks at
Aprilia for state-of-the-art technology and
performance and who asks: ‘Why don’t you make
the ultimate sportsbike that is more, more, more?’
This bike will be our answer. We will run our V-four
superbike alongside the V-twin RSV to give the
market our interpretation of an ultimate production
sportsbike. By 2008, we’ll have the definitive massproduction
version of our WSB racer.
It will be a sophisticated motorcycle, more so
than the RSV, so it will be more expensive – but
not too much. Aprilia has proved with the RSV that
it can build exclusive motorcycles fitted with
everything that is best on the market, at market
prices. We were the first to fit Öhlins forks, forged
aluminium wheels and radial callipers to a basemodel
production bike. Although our product
wasn’t cheap, neither was it expensive. This is the
idea we’d like to bring forward with this new bike.

MSL: So, there is obviously a clear sales strategy
behind opting to race in WSB rather than MotoGP?

LM: To invest in MotoGP at this stage would be to
put all our resources into a prototype machine
with premature technology that is unlikely to hit
production. Aprilia’s priority is to invest in the
market, and WSB will give us the opportunity to
broaden our model range. Of course, we got out of
MotoGP at a difficult time for Aprilia, but our
experience also proved that taking part in MotoGP
isn’t at everyone’s reach and demands specific
priorities. You either have major sponsors or a lot
of money. Without money you don’t get anywhere,
and we need to prioritise our market strategy, so,
we can’t afford to be in MotoGP at this time. Our
experience with the four-stroke MotoGP machines
has also shown how the costs compare to the
two-stroke 250cc class – and it’s at least five times
as much, and probably much more. So the industry
needs to be very careful: switching to four-stroke
machines in the smaller classes, too, could mean
the death of these championships.

MSL: Do you believe there is a future for the 125
and 250cc two-stroke GP classes?

LM: Absolutely. We are lobbying to extend the
existence of these classes until beyond 2009, and
it seems that it is going in this direction. It’s a way
of providing teams with very high-performance
machines that are accessible in terms of
technology and budgets. It acts as a school for all
those young riders who start in 125 at 15 years of
age, then move into 250 between the ages of 16
and 18, then reach MotoGP by the time they’re 19
to 20 years old. The two-stroke 125 and 250 bikes
provide the necessary experience to get into
MotoGP, where the bikes are sophisticated
prototypes that require strong analytical and setup
skills. Other racing classes simply don’t provide
the necessary experience because they don’t offer
the same level of set-up variations. It’s a process
you have to go through, and the 125 and 250 twostroke
classes make it accessible and affordable.

MSL: Aprilia has always loved two-strokes, and it
worked with Orbital to create the clean, direct
injection Di-Tech engine. Might two-strokes make
a come back with this technology?

LM: So many people write to us asking why don’t
we make the RS250 anymore. But, in these days of
growing environmental concern, the easiest game
to play has been to penalise the two-stroke engine.
In the current climate, most people have come to
believe that four-strokes are better. Unfortunately,
the two-stroke has been portrayed as bad,
polluting and noisy; it’s become the black sheep.
I don’t exclude that developing technology won’t
change things once again: Di-Tech technology has
allowed us to build high-performance 50cc
scooters that are incredibly economical and clean.

MSL: Finally, there is a lot of excess capacity in
the Piaggio Group’s (which now comprises Moto
Guzzi, Derbi, Vespa and Aprilia) various factories.
Might you bring everything under the same roof
and close down Aprilia’s notorious Noale factory?

LM: The Piaggio Group wants to maintain every
individual marque’s brand identity, and part of this
means Moto Guzzi stays at Mandello del Lario,
Piaggio stays at Pontedera and Aprilia stays at
Noale. We won’t close any of the factories; instead,
if one of them is too full we might spill over into one
of our other sites, using up any spare capacity there.
However, the heart of Aprilia’s production will
always stay at Noale. And yes, we do have spare
capacity in that factory. But as you’ll have gathered
by now, we expect to use it all up very soon.

TiminIndy
04-19-2006, 01:01 AM
Mercanti's English is very good. Maybe they can get him to write the press releases and translate the brochures as well.

italyscarab
04-19-2006, 10:56 PM
I am proud to say that I own 3 Aprilia's and if that god damn Todd Ross has his way I will probably end up with a scarabeo 250 before to long. For the last 2 years the brand has been taking a beating and they havn't done a damn thing in the press to make it better as a company in whole or as a US distributor. The people in communications and marketing department need to be kicked in the head for being stupid than kicked in the ass out the door. Enlight of the article that I came across I challenge everyone to post only good news for a change about our beloved brand that we all drag our nuts through broken glass to own and deal with.

clarkie49
04-20-2006, 08:34 AM
Is this bad news for small companies like Aprilia?

http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2006/Apr/060419n.htm

basically from what i can tell they are looking at banning 'Homologation Special' bikes, not sure if this is talking about bikes like Foggy's Petronas or they mean that any bike that is built with just enough bikes (ie 500 or whatever it is) to meet the WSBK Homologation requirements.

TheDuke
04-20-2006, 09:55 AM
That was my take on it. Building a total of 75-90 bikes to make something legal to race will not be allowed. This was also the release that said if Ducati built a 1200cc twin that they wouldn't allow that to run either.

irix
04-20-2006, 10:52 AM
I didn't read that, TheDuke. If anything, from how I interpreted it, it spelled out that they would support a larger displacement bike, by evaluating production models vs the current rules. Ducati seems to want to get away from their limited production 999R models, and maybe bump the displacement a bit so that it's cheaper to compete. I'm sure they'll put some sort of restrictions (throttle bodies etc?) on the larger displacement bike, but at least it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg for a small company like Ducati (or Aprilia for that matter) to produce a model that can go from the showroom to the podium in WSBK.

Anyway, that's just how I read it..

GeoR
04-20-2006, 11:13 AM
How do you determine if a bike was built for homologation purposes if there's not a minimum number required? Maybe they're talking about the special parts catalogue -like HRC which is not available to the general public?

:confused:

Ricky J
04-20-2006, 11:09 PM
Dumpster the V-4!

I want an RSV Milleduecento!

GeoR
04-21-2006, 09:11 AM
Dumpster the V-4!

I want an RSV Milleduecento!


Not bigger: smaller, lighter!! :happy:

bird
04-21-2006, 04:04 PM
Dumpster the V-4!

I want an RSV Milleduecento!
I give. What's Milleduecento?

irix
04-21-2006, 05:43 PM
Translates to "thousands two hundred" using google language. 1200cc twin I guess.

GeoR
04-21-2006, 07:31 PM
Translates to "thousands two hundred" using google language. 1200cc twin I guess.


Close enough : twelve hundred.

derbybrit1
04-27-2006, 03:14 PM
Have Valentino and Colin gone Brokeback on us? At first I thought it might be Valentino bitch-slapping Max Biaggi!

http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/image.php?u=6201&dateline=1092170040

italyscarab
05-02-2006, 10:42 PM
HAHA, at least in the motorcycle world.