– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

What Happened With Aprilia in MotoGP This Year?

We used to call Aprilia the Giant Killer, because it had the ability to beat Honda and the other relatively large manufacturers in the racing game — at least, from time-to-time. It was always competitive in GPs, particularly, in the 250cc class.

Aprilia had big plans for its three-cylinder Cube in MotoGP this year. After a year of development, it brought in World Superbike champion Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga to compete for podium positions, and wins, in MotoGP during the 2003 season. That was the plan, at least.

Employing more technology than any other team (including, fly-by-wire throttle and pneumatic valves), and choosing the three-cylinder configuration in order to exploit a huge weight advantage (a weight advantage never fully exploited, apparently), Aprilia appeared to be headed for MotoGP competitiveness, at least. It has not happened.

Instead, a rider with enormous talent and determination (Colin Edwards) has been frustrated, and now rumored to be looking for a Honda to ride next year. What went wrong? Did Aprilia simply “bite off more than it could chew?” Did it employ automobile technology that does not work for motorcycle racing, because it isolates the rider too much from the “feel” he needs to push the bike to its limits, as Colin Edwards has suggested? Did MotoGP racing present budget demands that a small manufacturer could not meet? Send us your thoughts in an email.

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