World Superbike will be in the limelight on the Marco Simoncelli Circuit at Misano Adriatico this weekend. Aprilia will be at the second round on Italian soil (after Imola) well prepared and with the goal of taking the RSV4 onto the podium.
It will be a difficult challenge given the incredible skill level of the adversaries on the track, but on the Romagnolo track the Italian team will also be able to count on a third bike and a great return of Max Biaggi, six-time World Champion, two of which were in Superbikes with Aprilia, the only Italian to ever have earned the title in the factory derivative category.
“The return of Max to our Aprilia WSBK team will certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons,” said Craig Langton Sales Director of Aprilia SA. Max is a true champion and we are sure to see some great racing, podiums and a possible another world title for the brand.”
Max will be back in the saddle astride the Team Aprilia Racing RSV4 RF, one of the most victorious models ever in Superbike, a bike that he himself rode to a double championship title (Rider and Manufacturer) in 2010 and 2012. However, development of the V4 from Veneto has continued non-stop, partially in light of the rule changes and it is Biaggi who manages this aspect with the support of the Aprilia Test Team.
His return, in the dual role of tester and rider plus Max’s successful commitment as sports commentator for Mediaset, is exciting not only for the fans, but also for Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager.
“At this point we can’t wait to have him on the track” said Albesiano. “Of the many riders who have won with us, Max is the most victorious in Aprilia history with his four titles in 250 and the fantastic World SBK double win. Seeing him race on ‘his’ RSV4 will be very exciting, both for us and for all motorcycling fans. We are also curious to see how practice goes and then the two races. Max now has a bike which has been adapted to the new rules but one which has also reconfirmed its competitiveness this year and that Max knows well because of his invaluable work as a tester. We are going to Misano motivated to do well with all our riders and to make this round a festive moment for the return of a great champion.”
“I’m getting back on the track!” commented a beaming Max Biaggi. “It is truly very exciting for me to return to racing, to taste the adrenaline of competition again, especially on a circuit as special to me as Misano. In my work as a tester I’m helping Aprilia develop the new RSV4 RF, working very well with the guys that I know well and who by now understand me. The wild card is a ‘cherry on the top’ so to speak, a chance where I definitely plan on giving my all. I am also well aware of the difficulties. Our rivals are in grand form and for me it won’t be easy at all. The goal is first and foremost to have fun, not to predict any results, but to give 100% to bring a smile to the face of Aprilia, the fans and all enthusiasts. Sunday after Race 2 we’ll draw our conclusions.”
Aprilia’s great efforts in World Superbike also benefit the Team Aprilia Racing – Red Devils rider Leon Haslam, affected in recent races by an injury that the tough English rider has handled professionally and with grit, containing the damage and bringing home the best possible result in spite of it. Closing the gap behind the leader is a complex but not impossible job and Leon believes he can do it, counting on help from ex rival Biaggi to shake up the championship.
Leon Haslam: “Misano is always a special race, the track and area is fantastic. Also to have Max has a team mate for this is very special. There is a new tarmac which is reported to be very different, so I can’t wait to get things going and to try the solutions we found in Portimao. We need to keep pushing to fight for the top spots, and I would love to repay all my Aprilia team with a victory on home soil”.
Jordi Torres knows the Misano circuit so his apprenticeship here will be more streamlined. The Spanish rider aims first and foremost to improve his Superpole performance because starting from the front means taking advantage of the pace and staying with the lead group. In any case, Jordi does not underestimate the work on tyre wear which is fundamental in light of the new asphalt at Misano, so he wants to exploit the solutions that came out of the recent Portimão post-race tests.
Jordi Torres: “I am coming to Misano with a great desire to do well. I know the track so I’ll be able to adapt quicker here. Our biggest effort will be performing well in Superpole in order to start as far forward as possible and lock onto the lead group. In the Portimão tests we tried various configurations precisely to streamline the bike adjustment process during the weekend. We’ll also need to work on tyre duration in order to be competitive even at the end of the race. The Misano track has a lot of closed turns where we need to get the RSV4 RF to perform at the top of its game.”
In Superstock 1000 FIM Cup the Aprilia RSV4 RF and Lorenzo Savadori are keen to continue their hunt for the title, closer than ever after 3 wins and 2 second place finishes in the 5 races held thus far. The Team Nuova M2 standard bearer is playing on his home pitch and wants to do well for his fans, as does team mate Kevin Calia, who has been improving consistently in the recent rounds.