Max Biaggi will look to regain his title-winning 2010 form.
Aprilia returns for a three-rider assault on the 2012 SBK Championship with the RSV4 Factory. Personnel changes, however, alter the dynamics of the Aprilia effort this season. Max Biaggi is the only rider to return for 2012, with Eugene Laverty replacing Leon Camier. PATA rider Noriyuki Haga is out, along with PATA, which switched to Ducati bikes in the off-season. Instead the third Aprilia rider will be 2011 World Supersport champ Chaz Davies, who moves up to contest his rookie SBK season with his WSS-winning ParkinGO squad (interestingly the team reversed the PATA actions, initially slated to run a Ducati before switching at the last minute to Aprilia machinery).
Aprilia Racing Team
Max and Marco injected
some liveliness into SBK.
The 2010 champion Biaggi had a tumultuous SBK title defense last season. Highlights, or lowlights depending on where fans stand on their allegiance to The Emperor, included a face-slapping incident
with best buddie Marco Melandri at Donington, as well as a dustup over a collision, and subsequent DNF, with Jonathan Rea at Miller. Other on-track mistakes cost Biaggi valuable points, including a black flag disqualification at Donington and controversial ride-thru penalty at Monza that cost Biaggi a win. But even without those setbacks Biaggi couldn’t match the mastery of Checa, placing third in 2011 with two wins and 12 podiums. Although the lone RSV4 pilot to return for 2012, Biaggi did lose his regular crew in the offseason, who left to staff one of the numerous Aprilia-based CRT efforts in MotoGP (four of the eight CRT entries are based off Aprilia equipment).
Eugene Laverty gets a coveted factory Aprilia seat for 2012 after an impressive rookie SBK camapaign for the now defunct Yamaha squad.
New addition Laverty arrives fresh off an impressive rookie SBK season for the now-defunct Yamaha team. The Irishman gained notice with an unexpected double-victory performance at Monza. Afterward Laverty remained a consistent top five performer en route to a fourth-place finish in the overall championship. Highlights for the second half of the year included a double-podium finish at Silverstone. A seat on the factory Aprilia is one of the more coveted rides in SBK, so regular podiums will be expected (something his predecessor, Camier, failed to deliver). Laverty is a dark horse contender in 2012, but will have to overcome early injury after breaking his hand during preseason testing at Phillip Island.
2012 Aprilia SBK Roster:
- Top Rider – Max Biaggi
- Top Team – Aprilia Racing Team
- Dark Horse – Eugene Laverty
#3 Max Biaggi – Aprilia Racing Team
#19 Chaz Davies – ParkinGO MTC Racing
#58 Eugene Laverty – Aprilia Racing Team