by Gianmaria Rosati
There was a lot going on at Aprilia on Wednesday. While, in terms of MotoGP, the Noale-based manufacturer was at Misano to test with four riders no less, thus confirming their full commitment to that championship, the situation regarding Superbike is not so clear-cut.
And today comes the news that Eugene Laverty has signed with Milwaukee, with the team leaving BMW to move across to Aprilia next season. The arrival of a rider like Laverty in a team ready to commit to the Italian project was bound to lead to questions about the nature and extent of Aprilia's commitment to this category; also in light of the fact that the RSV4, despite development being almost at a standstill, continues to be a high-quality bike, which is scoring some interesting results in the hands of Lorenzo Savadori.
Aprilia's plans for next season's production-derived series are yet to be officially announced, but Aprilia Racing boss Romano Albesiano is on hand to clarify the situation.
“Aprilia's mission right now is to reach the top in MotoGP. In Superbike we still have a great bike, which is available to any team that wishes to hire it. Depending on any given team's efforts, our level of support may be great or small, in terms of supplying materials and assistance. But always in the form of a private team supported by a manufacturer. It's not exactly correct to talk about satellite teams, seeing as there is no factory team. Ioda for example is one of these private teams we're talking about, but its future is still uncertain. Next season we could have three customer teams or we could have none; the situation is in flux and nothing is decided as yet”.
What is certain however is that Aprilia wants to focus on one particular person, the aforementioned Savadori.
“Lorenzo is very important to us, and we'd like to put him in the best situation possible from a technical point of view. This is another area we're working in, but he definitely won't be part of a factory team, because there is no chance that we'll have one".
The situation is different for Alex De Angelis.
“Alex, in contrast to Lorenzo, has a contract with Ioda and not directly with Aprilia and so I cannot speak for him”.