During the Aprilia All Stars Day at Misano we had the opportunity to hear from the various champions present at the Romagna track. From Biaggi and Capirossi to the MotoGP riders with Aleix Espargarò who, in addition to his enthusiasm for the laps he did on the RSV250, said he was proud and excited to be part of the Aprilia family.
"I think that no one like Aleix can say it - Massimo Rivola told us over the weekend - He has dedicated a lot of his career to the Aprilia project and I think there are few riders who deserve the satisfaction of a podium like him, after all the sweat he has poured out in recent years. The only regret is that on days like this there is no Fausto Gresini. I am happy that his family have come to the Aprilia All Stars and to the commemoration we held in his honour, because it is a sign of closeness. It was a right moment on our part, it's always emotional to talk about Fausto ”.
Coming closer to F1’s maniacal regulations would be a mistake
In a few days, however, the Aprilia star gathering will be only a distant memory because the fourth GP of the year will be held in Jerez de la Frontera. The RS-GP seemed to have improved in this 2021 season, is the podium a goal?
“Well, now that Marquez, who I think will already be among the best from Jerez, has returned the group will be really large. I think our task today is to be ready for every occasion. We are not used to being up there and it is a process of building performance also from a psychological point of view ”.
In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about regulations and technology in MotoGP due to the various starting devices and the cancelled times, for example of Vinales, due to a matter of millimetres. In your experience, is the world championship coming closer to Formula 1 on these issues?
"What happened in Portimao is an "alarm bell". The punishment given to Vinales seemed severe to me because at that point there were no sensors checking while Bagnaia's punishment, albeit correct in its form, should make us think of a simpler system to be followed by the riders, no one could have seen that yellow flag. There is also the issue of safety because if there had been a serious problem in that circumstance, the rider would not have seen the flag anyway. It would be a mistake to come close to Formula 1 from the point of view of the obsession with regulations, but I don't think MotoGP is going in that direction. The world championship must remain a little wilder, while improving safety ".
"We will do everything to make Dovizioso stay"
In a few days Jerez will be the centre of world motorcycling but already a couple of weeks ago everyone’s attention was focused on the Andalusian track because of Dovizioso’s test on the Aprilia. What will become of this collaboration? Will it continue until Dovi becomes a starter rider for next season?
“With him we are taking things as they come but we know we can't wait too long. Andrea wants to ride and Aprilia wants to be guided by him. We will do everything to convince him to stay and do more tests because he is a rider of the highest level and highly meticulous. At the moment I don't know what will happen next year, we are ready to make the commitment, because having a rider like him is a commitment, but if we want to make a leap of quality it can be very useful ".
"VR46-Aprilia is more rumours than reality, we might even not have a satellite team"
A thorny issue in recent weeks is the one related to the satellite team for next season. When will we know more and what are Aprilia's ideas at the moment?
“I think that in mid-May we can start taking a direction. I would very much like Gresini Racing to continue with Aprilia, given our joint history, I know that there have been approaches between them and Ducati and that, according to the rumour mill in the paddock, they are also in an advanced stage, but for us it would be a really nice continuation to go ahead with them for a satellite team ”.
There is also a lot of talk about VR46 being interested. Valentino is an important brand and, especially from the point of view of the return of image, the Doctor with Aprilia would be a good match.
“Honestly, there are a lot more rumours than reality. Obviously, when I was asked about VR46 I answered in the affirmative for what Valentino was for Aprilia, for the whole world championship and for what the Academy for the management of young riders is. Continuing with Gresini would be a more current story given what happened to Fausto but there are still a lot of unknown factors ”.
For example? You might not even do a second team?
“Yes, it may also be that we will continue to have only two bikes in the future. Maybe Suzuki will have a satellite team or Ducati will give two more bikes to someone else, it's still a bit early. Obviously we would like to have a second team, we are waiting for the middle of May ”.
"The 1100 Aprilias have become a benchmark"
We talked about the world championship but over the weekend we saw many bikes produced by the Noale manufacturer on the track. What are the most interesting models at the moment?
“I think the 1100s are a benchmark by now: both the RSV4 and the Tuono, which is a totally separate thing. There was no mid-range bike and the entry of the 660 as both RS and Tuono will be very interesting for the market but not only. It is a beautiful bike both to look at and to ride, it is an Aprilia in all respects. We liked it so much that we have created a trophy in which 16-year-olds can already start riding 105 hp bikes and which teaches them to go fast on the track. For the little ones there is the Sport Production 250 which teaches them to become familiar with the track ".