Although it has been widely reported that reigning World 500 GP champion Valentino Rossi is currently without a contract (following a dispute with Honda on the eve of signing a new deal), it is now apparent that Rossi has recently met with his old mentor Ivano Beggio, head of Aprilia, to discuss a switch to Aprilia for next year’s inaugural MotoGP season. Aprilia, of course, will campaign its new three-cylinder prototype featuring pneumatic valves.
Rossi rode Aprilias to his first two World championships before switching to Honda to campaign the 500 cc class. Although Aprilia could hardly outbid Honda when it comes to Rossi’s salary demands, Rossi’s rift with Honda concerns “cultural differences” rather than money, according to one report. If true, this could make Aprilia a logical alternative for Rossi, and Rossi’s presence at Aprilia would undoubtedly draw huge, outside sponsorship to the Aprilia MotoGP effort — more than enough to pay Rossi an exorbitant salary.
This news breaks as Rossi’s former teammate sets a new lap record at a Malaysian track aboard Honda’s V-5 MotoGP bike. It is possible that Rossi would find the challenge of taking the new Aprilia to the top of the podium an additional enticement to leave Honda.