Aprilia has stepped up its game for this MotoGP season. A seemingly long time in the making, they just debuted their new 100% GP bike, the RS-GP. I say 100% because last season Aprilia put a bike on the GP circuit but it wasn’t a full GP, more like a beefed up superbike which of course couldn’t compete week in and week out with the big boys. Aprilia’s riders, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl, are probably biting at the bit to get the season underway and to put this bad boy through its paces.
According to Aprilia, this bike is not an evolution of anything it has done before but rather a completely new design.
“The RS-GP is… an entirely redesigned prototype based on the knowledge gained during the season last year, characterised by experimentation and data acquisition. The new bike is already a milestone in the young and victorious Aprilia racing history: in fact, it is the first true MotoGP bike, entirely designed, developed and built by Aprilia in its every component, beginning with the engine, a unit characterised by its exclusive narrow V4 architecture, the same one that distinguishes the entire supersport line from Noale.” – Roberto Colaninno, CEO and Managing Director of the Piaggo Group.
Aprilia has the hardware and history of wins in the motorcycling world to let you know when they build a bike they know what they are doing. This new machine is surely to put Aprilia Racing right back into the front of the pack where the company is used to being. Aprilia has won 294 Grand Prix races, holding the record for most wins of any European manufacturer in history. And they don’t just win races they win titles, having taken 54 world titles across different classes.
Stefan Brandl, who will be riding the number 6 bike, said this about his expectations for the bike and this particular run for the title:
“The first contact with the new bike was definitely positive, despite the fact that it’s still too early to take a position. The Aprilia Racing techs did a great job in the right direction. Now our job will be to explore the potential of the RS-GP lap after lap. We really have a lot on our plate, but we also have a wide margin for improvement. Along with the new bike, we also have the new electronics and tyres, aspects that we had already begun working on but that still require a lot of development. We won’t be bored, that much is certain. For the first time in my career I’m working on an official team with the job of developing a new project. I think that this is the greatest condition possible for a rider who wants to set his sights on staying out front.”
The RS-GP carries a V4 “narrow” 81mm bore, counter rotating crankshaft and rides on a “Aprilia Racing aluminum chassis.” It utilizes Ohlins suspensions and Brembo, double front carbon disc brakes on one end and a single steel disc in the rear. Michelin provides the tires.
I can’t wait to see what this new bike does on the circuit. With that Aprilia know how and legacy I have a strong feeling this bike is going to cross the line at or near the front at least a few times this season.