Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team will be entering the 2010 World Superbike Championship without hiding its ambitious goals. And yet this is only the second season for both team and bike in this highly prestigious and competitive world series dedicated to motorcycles series production.
The success of last year is thanks to Max Biaggi and the all new four-cylinder Aprilia RSV4 which, during their first season in 2009, demonstrated a competitiveness which – even though the arrival of this bike and Max Biaggi’s return to Aprilia after twelve years were both hotly anticipated events – astonished everyone.
Now the challenge begins again. Every one of the most competitive opponents (seven different constructers are competing in the SBK world championship, representing the best that the motorcycling world has to offer) will be waiting for the Aprilia RSV4 and its riders at the start line. This means that the team can no longer count on being able to surprise its competitors, who are now fully aware of the capabilities of the Italian four-cylinder. However, what the team can now count on is a vital year of experience with both the circuits and the bike.
Aprilia RSV4 enters the 2010 world championship with a magnificent Tricolor livery representing the team’s partnership with Alitalia. This livery, which brings together two prestigious and proudly Italian brands, is evocative of legendary chapters in Italian motor sports history, when teams flying the Alitalia colors won world championships in disciplines ranging from rally to offshore power boats.
Maurizio Roman, Piaggio Group Director of Product Development and Strategy: “Partnerships are often forged between brands and sponsors that have very little in common, with no relation whatsoever between their respective activities. Today, however, we are witnessing one of those rare cases of an auspicious union between brands that share many values. They share the same Italianness and, above all, the same commitment to technological advancement and excellence. Behind both are companies that strive to elevate prestigious brands to new heights, and which have made history in their respective segments.
In the early days, the Aprilia logo featured a tricolor capital A, which was strongly inspired by the graphic symbol of the national Italian airline. Today we are truly proud that Alitalia has chosen the fairings of the magnificent Aprilia RSV4 as the canvas to continue its history as brand involved to world class motor sports. It is a great honor and opportunity for Aprilia to bear the colors of a prestigious brand such as Alitalia and to represent its values in the highly competitive arena of the World Superbike Championship.”
Leo Francesco Mercanti, Director of Aprilia Racing & Product Development: “It is cause for great pride for us to take part in a motor sports season that sees three major Italian groups represented on the starting grid in a world class technological competition with all of the world’s greatest motorcycle brands. It is a challenge not just in terms of sports, but also on a business and an industrial level, with the image of an entire country at stake. We understand the responsibility and honor of carrying a little piece of Italy with us around the world. These are brands that have written entire chapters in the history of Italian motor sports: Alitalia did so with its fantastic wins in rallying, the Eni-Agip group did it in Formula 1, and, naturally, the Piaggio Group has done so – and continues to do so to this day. We have a great tradition to uphold; it is a tough challenge that comes after a 2009 season in which Aprilia exceeded our expectations, proving its competitiveness with three world MotoGP titles and surprising everyone with its results in the Superbike series. These successes justify great ambitions and expectations; to fulfil them will be a great challenge. It is difficult to make predictions at the beginning of a season, but we have prepared well for the challenge, working hard and improving on every front.”
In 2009, there were many expectations for Max Biaggi’s return to Aprilia, the marque with which he had won three consecutive world championships in the 250cc class from 1994 to ‘96. Now the team is looking forward to seeing the results he manages to bring home, in light of a debut season that demonstrated both the potential of the bike and the ability of the Roman rider to steer its development and take it to the top of the leader board, right up to the win at Brno.
Max Biaggi: “The presentation of a new season, of a bike with new colors, is always very emotional for a rider – it’s like witnessing the birth of a living creature. It will be an honor to carry these prestigious colors onto the circuits of the whole world – a tricolor that will make both the bike and team unique. We also have a new team member: Leon comes from the tough British championship, and he certainly has all the right cards to become the strong wingman that both I and the team need.
Aprilia did a fantastic job in 2009, we made giant strides from a technical standpoint, which were made possible by the whole team and by the work that let the debuting RSV4 make progress race after race. The win at Brno was just the crowning moment of a continuous process of growth. Of course, we were the great surprise of the 2009 season, and I am really happy with the results; nobody could ever have predicted that we would be so competitive at our debut, nobody would ever have expected a fourth-place season finish. And yet I still feel as if the greatest satisfactions are still to come, we haven’t reached the top yet – only a win will really crown it all for me. We are now facing the forthcoming season armed with more knowledge, more experience on the circuits and with the awareness of our potential.”
The four-times World Champion will be joined on the grid by 23-year old Englishman Leon Camier, in what is his season in SBK. Leon comes fresh from winning the title of British Superbike Champion, after dominating the 2009 season of his national championship for production derived bikes with an incredible 18 wins out of a total 26 races.
Leon Camier: “Being a part of this team, a part of the RSV4 project, is an incredible opportunity for me. This championship will be very tough, with extremely high levels of competitiveness. I’ll be racing against some outstanding, highly experienced riders. This is why it is so important to be in a team like Aprilia Alitalia, one of the very few that offer a rider extraordinary opportunities in terms of developing the bike. My first impressions of the RSV4 were phenomenal: it has enormous potential and is a very quick bike. Now, I must first get as much experience as possible to fully exploit the potential that Aprilia puts in the hands of the rider. It is a great challenge for me to learn how to develop a bike and make it better. Everyone wants to win and everyone sets off from the grid to win, but my first goal will be to understand the bike and constantly improve my performance. I think that we have already found the right direction for the development of the bike, our goal now is to continue in this direction and to improve together with the bike”.