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Aprilia Debuts New RS-GP MotoGP Bike at Losail (Press Release and Video)

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It is no secret that Aprilia has been racing a modified superbike in MotoGP up to this point. It finally has developed a full factory prototype to race this year, the RS-GP, which it has debuted today at the Losail circuit as final pre-series testing gets underway. The following is a press release from Aprilia with a video (at the very bottom of this article) discussing the development of this important machine. It will be interesting to see how far riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl can get this year aboard the full factory prototype. Here is the press release, followed by the video:

Roberto Colaninno: “Aprilia Racing is the most advanced technological experimentation and development platform for the entire Piaggio Group and all of our products and brands benefit from it”

Romano Albesiano: “The new bike reflects recent Aprilia Racing tradition, reinterpreting every concept without compromise, and it is the most ambitious project our racing department has ever undertaken”

Doha (Qatar), 2 March 2016 – The new 2016 Aprilia RS-GP débuts at Losail. From 2 to 4 March the Italian V4 will be on the track for the first time in an official event, the final IRTA tests before the start of the 2016 Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing season.

This will kick off the 2016 MotoGP season for Aprilia Racing. For the Italian team this is a fundamental step in the project that began in 2015, since the new Aprilia RS-GP is not an evolution of the previous model but 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 Piaggio Group, had this to say about the new challenge: “From a Group strategy point of view, Aprilia Racing is not just the Aprilia racing team: it is the most advanced technological experimentation and development platform for the entire Piaggio Group from which all of our products and brands benefit. For this reason, from this 2016 season the Piaggio Group logo stands out prominently on the bikes’ livery. In fact, the technology developed for racing operations is not intended only for racing, but it also serves the purpose of testing innovative solutions that will then be applied to road-legal products, from supersport bikes all the way to scooters, with the end goal of improving our products in terms of performance, safety and the ability to provide our customers with riding pleasure and fun”.

“On the competition level, how can I not remind you of the important results we’ve achieved so far?” continued Roberto Colaninno. “With our own motorcycle brands, the Group has won 32 out of the 104 world championships ever won in its history in just twelve years. An amazing 28 of these titles were won in one decade by Aprilia, even with riders of the calibre of Max Biaggi and Jorge Lorenzo. The others went to the Gilera brands – with the never-forgotten Marco Simoncelli – and to Derbi, which, among other things, christened an extraordinary champion like Marc Marquez. I would like to wish Albesiano and his team, the riders Bautista and Bradl, and the entire Aprilia Racing staff all the best and a season that will give them and all of the Piaggio Group reasons to be satisfied.”

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With 104 World Championships in its collection (54 Aprilia, 15 Moto Guzzi, 21 Derbi, 14 Gilera) the Piaggio Group is the most victorious motorcycle group of all times.
Aprilia, born into racing, is the true sports standard-bearer for the Piaggio Group.

With 294 Grand Prix races won in World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing, Aprilia holds the record for the most wins of any European manufacturer in the history of top motorcycle competition. These race wins are joined by 54 world titles: 38 in the World Motorcycle Championship (20 in the 125 class and 18 in the 250 class), 7 in Superbike (double Rider/Manufacturer title in 2010, 2012 and 2014, Manufacturer in 2013) and 9 in the Off Road disciplines (7 in Supermoto and 2 in Trial). The Aprilia trophy case also includes last year’s victory in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup with the RSV4 RF ridden on the track by Savadori.

Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl made a fundamental contribution to the development of the new project as they conducted the 2015 “laboratory-season” on the track. Alvaro and Stefan had the chance to familiarise themselves with the 2016 RS-GP during the previous private tests on the Losail circuit, immediately recognising its great potential. The brand new technical package, which is joined by the new tyre supplier and the controlled electronics package, requires an obvious fine-tuning phase before we can arrive at a good level, but the feelings we got during the first two tests make us solidly optimistic about the new season.

“The upcoming season will be a very important one for us”, said Aprilia Racing Manager, Romano Albesiano. “The new bike reflects recent Aprilia Racing tradition, reinterpreting every concept without compromise, and it is the most ambitious project our racing department has ever undertaken. The first responses from testing have been positive. We received very positive feedback from both riders specifically from a dynamics point of view. In any case, this is the beginning of a long path and we are well aware of the inevitable difficulties that come along with any new project.”

Albesiano had this to say about the riders, Bautista and Bradl, both confirmed for the 2016 season: “We can count on the contribution of an expert team and two highly motivated riders like Alvaro and Stefan, who immediately realised the importance of our development plan and the great efforts put forth by the racing department. I believe that, after the initial fine-tuning phase, we’ll be able to set our sights on respectable results.”

For Bautista (riding the number 19 bike) this is his second full year astride the prototypes from Noale. “This season will be a new challenge, my second year with Aprilia”, said Alvaro. We’ll be able to rely on our experience from 2015. We aren’t starting from zero, but in any case we’ll have to develop a completely new bike. I think that Aprilia has very clear ideas about what they can expect this season. In any case, it will be a big challenge because we’ll have to work hard on race weekends since we have done very little testing. We’ll need to be good at streamlining things. To be honest, it would be nice to be competitive around the mid-season mark. It’s difficult to predict now because there are so many things that need to be sorted, but I’m confident because during the winter break Aprilia did a great job with the data gathered in 2015. I’m pumped up and I want to have a good season, getting back into the battle for top positions, but I am under no illusions. With patience, hard work and sacrifice we can do it.”

Stefan Bradl, riding the number 6 bike, echoed the sentiment: “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.”

2016 will be Gresini Racing’s twentieth Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing season: a history that includes two world titles (with Daijiro Kato in 250 in 2001 and Toni Elias in Moto2 in 2010), 42 wins in GP and MotoGP runner-up World Champion titles in three consecutive seasons, from 2003 to 2005. “In recent months, Aprilia Racing staff at Noale and everyone on the Gresini Racing team have put forth an incredible effort on the technical and organisational front”, said Team Manager, Fausto Gresini. “We never stopped. We have a great desire to demonstrate our full potential and we are highly motivated as we approach the first Grand Prix. The Aprilia Racing technicians have taken advantage of the experience gained last year and all their precious know-how to create a prototype ready to battle in a MotoGP season that promises to be even more heated and exciting.”

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APRILIA RACING RS-GP 2016

Engine
Aprilia Racing V4 “narrow”, 81mm bore, counter rotating crankshaft, pneumatic valves distribution

Power
>250 CV

Electronics
Magneti Marelli ECU, Dorna software

Gearbox
Aprilia Racing upshift and downshift seamless, 6 speed cassette

Lubrication
Dry sump

Chassis
Aprilia Racing alluminium

Swingarm
Aprilia Racing alluminium

Suspensions
Ohlins

Brakes
Brembo, double front carbon disk 320-340 mm, single rear steel disk 255 mm

Tyres
Michelin

 


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33 Comments

  1. George says:

    I am happy to see Aprilia actually trying to field a full on GP bike instead of a superbike engine in the prototype frame. I hope they do well. I don’t expect them to win or be championship contenders any time soon but an occasional win would be good for them and the entire MotoGP circus as well!

  2. Artem_T says:

    More streamlined than Honda, I think. Italians.

  3. Dan W. says:

    I’d be happy if the wiring harness of my RST1000 would just stop melting down…

    • Nomadak says:

      Plenty of information on how to DIY on the AF1 forum for well over a decade. Only requires reading skills, the most basic of tools, minimal aptitude and opposable thumbs.

      • tla says:

        next time you need open heart surgery, I’ll direct you to youtube.

        • ExCapoOwner says:

          Well considering the one on my Caponord was a simple remove and replace with the aftermarket unit, it’s hard to say it’s a difficult task. Only had to remove one body panel. All could be completed using the stock tool kit.

  4. Norm G. says:

    re: “exclusive narrow V4 architecture”

    okay but how narrow…? 89 degrees is technically “narrow” and the old 65 is going to win NOTHING, talk to me Aprilia goose.

    • Fred_M says:

      Speculation in the paddock suggests that the RS-GP will use a 75 degree V4.

      • Norm G. says:

        good, was calling for 90 but I figured they at least recognized the need to open it up.

        • Dave says:

          What competitive issues does a narrow V-angle cause, and couldn’t they correct them by clicking the crank shaft, like Yamaha and Suzuki do with their I-4’s?

          • Norm G. says:

            Q: What competitive issues does a narrow V-angle causes(?)

            (omg, see now you went and got him started)

            A: as a rule, the more degrees you move away from true 90 (be it narrow angle or wide angle) the more imbalance and vibrations will be generated by the reciprocating assembly. hence the reason when you get to the mid-point or to a 45 degree V, the turn signals stalks of a Harley are literally doing loop-dee-loops just idling up on the side stand. you must think of this vibration as a form of Energy. specifically Energy being ROBBED from the final drive and ultimately not being used to propel the rider/bike forward.

            as you further close up the V past 45 approaching 0 (think 15 degree of a VAG VR6 or the W of Veyron) the primary vibes begin to subside until you have the now ubiquitous I4. the same happens going in the opposite direction. when widening the angle past 90 (think the 111 degree Renault V10 circa 2002 or the early 112 degree Gardner/Doohan Honda NSR 2-stroke). again, keep going past the 1/2 point peak (135) until you get to 180 degrees and then the primary vibes subside again. of course it’s at this point where you find the BMW flat twin, Porsche and Subaru boxers, and the general aviation Continental and Lycoming engines found in Cessnas and Cirrus aircraft, etc. now again, this is just a rule. in the case of 120 degree firing order engines ie. triples, sixes, twelves, the narrow “60ish” degree angle V is ironically where primary balance is achieved.

            Q: what’s the angle used in a modern Ferrari V12…?

            A: 65 degrees.

            re: “couldn’t they correct them by clicking (sp?) the crank shaft”

            do you mean to say “clocking”…? yes, since they’re claiming a counter-rotating crank (which invariably means some form of parasitic intermediate shaft has been added) I suspect that’s EXACTLY what Noale might be doing. it would almost be engineering “folly” to bother opening up the V and then not do this, but i’m not entirely certain it gives “perfect” cancellation. however (comma) if max efficiency is what you seek…? then the 217 mph trap speed records of the 90 degree Desmo and 90 degree RC213 tells you everything you want to know.

          • Fred_M says:

            One of the disadvantages is breathing. As the cylinders get closer together, the throttle bodies have to move upwards where there is more room for them. They tend to get overly long intake tracts often at less than optimal angles.

  5. endoman38 says:

    Calling Kawasaki! Calling Kawasaki! Come in Kawasaki!

    • TexinOhio says:

      As much as I’d love to see my team green back in GP, I think they’re very happy whooping up on everybody over in WSBK.

    • Vrooom says:

      That would be great, but not sure they have the cash to develop a GP only bike. WSBK is proving they’ve got a superior sport bike, but it’s not going to cut it in GP without development like Aprilia just invested in.

  6. PatrickD says:

    I think they should still offer the Cube, even as a customer bike. Maybe with the more sophisticated electronics it would be a bit more managable, but that bike was crazy fast, and without doubt the most distinctive (and notorious) bike of the MotoGP era.

  7. Dave says:

    Is it me, or does this bike look a lot like the Honda?

  8. Provologna says:

    I wonder what is estimated road speed for a MotoGP bike at red line in first gear. Whatever was the gear sequence in which he took off from the pits in the final scene, it sounded extremely tall.

    It’s a little rich for my blood to ride something that pulls 100mph in first gear, w/five more bullets in the magazine.

    • TimC says:

      “It was impossible. But so was my terrifying sideways leap across the railroad tracks on the 900sp. The bike did it easily with the grace of a fleeing tomcat. The landing was so easy I remember thinking, goddamnit, if I had screwed it on a little more I could have gone a lot farther.

      Maybe this is the new Cafe Racer macho. My bike is so much faster than yours that I dare you to ride it, you lame little turd.”

      – Hunter S Thompson, “Song of the Sausage Creature”

    • PatrickD says:

      You need to keep away from road-going litre bikes then.
      Several of those top 100mph in first gear, and it’s not a gimmick. A handful in first gear will still land you on your ear.

    • TexinOhio says:

      Ah, reminds me of my return to riding bikes after college. Started on a 97 Ninja 500 as a freshman but then sold in in 2000 after graduation. 3 years later bought an 03 R6 and had not ridden a bike in those 3 years.

      I leave the dealer and proceed to get on the freeway to go home. Nervous as all get out entering the freeway I never shifted out of first before realizing I was doing 91mph in first gear. Calmed down and sorted myself out quickly but that was a total change from what the little 500 Ninja could do.

  9. The last Aprilia MotoGP steed was closer to their superbike, yes? So perhaps we will see a nice experiment in what happens when they try to solve problems by creating a new prototype under MotoGP rules. Interesting!

  10. wjf says:

    Well, they all have very technical looking white lab coat-type jackets on, they must know what they’re doing….

    • Provologna says:

      Remember Polk speaker ads in the 70s/80s, w/Mathew Polk in a lab coat?

      About three times I met Sandy Gross at audio shows, one of Polk’s early design engineers. Sandy was also principal later at Definitive Tech and now GoldenEar. IIRC Sandy is fond of racing slot cars.

      Sandy is one of the all-time most respected and successful loudspeaker designers for domestic applications.

  11. Krisd says:

    Beautiful distinctly Italian looking bikes. Hope they do well.

  12. mickey says:

    Always nice to have another factory totaly commited to winning in MotoGP. Good luck Aprilia

  13. Ron H. says:

    It’s too bad these press releases aren’t more technical. I’m sure factories want to keep the wraps on specific technical data, but just more pictures of the mechanicals of the bike would be nice.