Massimo Rivola is the man behind the Great Aprilia Revolution, the second guest of our Live chat in June. With the former Ferrari executive, now CEO of Aprilia Racing, we tackled some of the hot topics of these months. In particular, the rider market, the recovery of the World Championship, as well as the doping story that revolved around Andrea Iannone.
"We will be back on track at Misano with Bradley Smith to continue the development of the bike - Rivola began - for the occasion we will have to make choices regarding the engine by the end of the month, or on June 29. We will therefore start with Bradley, then other teams will join us on the track. "
What about the battle with KTM that has held centre-stage for the past few months?
"KTM wanted Aprilia to freeze its engines from the beginning of the year, but we said we couldn't do it, since our project is new. In fact, we needed more time and I think it's a common-sense compromise. Certainly, the change of rules penalizes us more than the others, given that our project is, as I said, a new one”.
In MotoGP you immediately became "famous" for the story related to the spoon.
“In the specific case of the spoon I am pleased to note two things. The first is that initially it was feared that a race could continue even after the chequered flag, after what happened, however it didn’t. The second is that a few weeks ago there was an interesting description of that appendix on the MotoGP website where there was talk of downforce and cooling of the rear tyre and this thing pleased me. "
Let's talk about the market situation: are you interested in Petrucci?
“With Aprilia we are happy with the two current riders, even if we don't know what will happen in the future, given the situation of Iannone. At the moment our intention is to keep both Andrea and Aleix".
What is the situation regarding Andrea?
“In all cases of doping, the federations have always been faster than what happened with Andrea. In the first instance the rider acknowledged that it wasn't his fault. Nonetheless, the prosecution asked for four years. As for the CAS, we expected to know who the president of the arbitration judges was, but at the moment there has been no communication. My fear is that WADA is trying to create an exemplary punishment to show its importance and that FIM is a spectator. All of this is quite worrying, given that we are talking about 18 months of disqualification, but I take the view that WADA will ask four years for Andrea. "
When can we expect the hearing? Time is of the essence…
"I expect the hearing to be at the latest at the end of August and no later. In this regard, I believe a minimum of decency is necessary in this respect. We are suffering significant damage, also because we want to hold on to Andrea. Certainly, if this season were to be ruined, we cannot guarantee that all this won’t affect the following one. "
Let's talk for a moment about product: there are a lot of questions on this matter on Facebook and YouTube: can we expect an increase in engine capacity on the new RS 660?
"None of this is currently planned."
When will the new Tuareg 660 arrive?
“We will have to wait another year. There is a lot of development work behind this bike. "
Returning to racing: from this year Aprilia will increase its commitment to CIV with the Sport Production Championship.
“We will be in the CIV Junior with five events. Given the interest aroused by the bike, we opted for two categories. The inspiration is obviously linked to Sport Production, trying to make youngsters enjoy everything at low cost. In fact, the value of the bike is 9 thousand euros. As said, we want to help kids grow. "
Massimo, have you ever thought about an Aprilia commitment in Moto3?
"I thought about it, but at the moment all our efforts are focused on MotoGP, since we have to get ourselves in a position to fight with the others".
How much is Aprilia missing a person like Gigi Dall’Igna?
"I take the view that we have a good team and I say this with great respect towards Gigi. For 2020 we will have to see how much the bike will show its teething problems. Aleix, at the Sepang tests, said that the goal was the podium, but we want to stay with our feet on the ground, even if I am of the opinion that we will eventually get into the first three places. In fact, we have greater potential than in the past, there are more technicians and more information ".
As for the reliability of the new bike, are there any concerns?
“Time is not in our favour, but we are working rapidly. At the moment we have not encountered any problems and I am confident ”.
When we will see instead an Aprilia satellite team in MotoGP?
"A satellite team would help, because it allows you to get more information and further help related to the development. Ducati was, for example, very good at going along this path. However, we have an idea of an independent team for 2022, since having four bikes means having two more riders. You can't build an official team overnight, even if the Aprilia and Gresini scenario with a satellite team is a goal we would like to aim for ".
Going back to MotoGP, what’s the situation with the renewal of Aleix?
“We want to keep him with us, he is the captain for us and deserves this recognition. We are close to finalising a deal with the renewal and as said I am of the opinion that he will be able to get the podium that he hopes for. He did important work with the 2020 bike, which can be considered easier and more rideable than the previous one. The engine changed the character of the RS-GP and he liked everything very much ".
What about Superbike?
"This year we had planned some wildcards with Ponsson to put one foot into the World Championship. If Dorna and FIM accept the 1100 we will be able to evaluate a return, perhaps with a satellite team to start, but we will have to see if they are willing to accept our bike ".
In conclusion: what will the MotoGP of the future be like?
“We need to cut costs and make the premier class more sustainable. We have dealt with several topics in recent months with the priority primarily being the restart of the 2020 calendar. Hopes of going outside Europe in November are pretty slim. I have to say that compared to F1, Ezpeleta is a person who knows how to interact with riders, teams and circuits, managing to be more efficient".
What would you change about the current MotoGP?
“I think it is possible to improve something on the regulations side. This is a different world which, compared to F1, arises from a different object like the motorcycle. Perhaps I would steal some technicians from F1 as has already happened, because bringing men with different training offers further growth. Even though there is more passion in motorcycles ".