The Aprilia success Story

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BORN INTO RACING

With 294 Grand Prix races won in Road Racing World Championship, Aprilia holds the record for the most wins of any European manufacturer in the history of maximum motorcycle competition. These are joined by an impressive 54 world titles: 38 in Road Racing World Championship (20 in 125 and 18 in 250), 7 in Superbike (Rider and Manufacturer double win in 2010, 2012 and 2014, manufacturers in 2013) and 9 in Off Road disciplines (7 in Supermoto and 2 in Trial).

In December 2004 Aprilia becomes part of the Piaggio Group which, with the reorganisation of the Noale Racing Division, takes the Veneto-based brand to victories in World Championship Motorcycle Racing and broadens the horizons of sport activity: from the return to the off road discipline, world rally to the début – in 2009 – of the Aprilia RSV4 in World Superbike.

During the same period Aprilia has also accumulated 28 World Titles and a countless collection of European and national titles. Every weekend, all over the world, Aprilia motorcycles take to the track on international and local circuits, holding high the honour of Italian and European motorcycling, feeding the biker’s desire to race and raising up young riders destined to enter into the world championship world.

60s / 70s

Aprilia begins manufacturing motorcycles at the end of the 60’s and already in 1970 produces a motocross “fifty” which would evolve into a 125, until arriving at the first competition motocross bike in the mid 70’s.

After the début in the Motocross sport in 1975, Aprilia enters World Championship Motorcycle Racing to challenge the unbeatable Japanese in the extremely competitive 250 class.

80s

The year is 1985 and the first bike has an alloy aluminium dual beam frame paired with a Marzocchi fork and a rear mono-shock mounted on a pro lever type suspension. Its motor is a two cylinder 2T Rotax with horizontally placed cylinders. In its début on 23 March 1985 in Kyalami South Africa Loris Reggiani finishes 12th. For the rest of the championship the bike performs so well that Reggiani takes the bottom step of the podium (third place) at Rijeka and then again at Imola.

In 1987 the Aprilia 250 rises quickly to the top. A new chassis and engine advancements take it to second place (Salzburg and Rijeka). Victory is within reach and, in fact, comes at Misano. The date is 30 August 1987 and Reggiani rides his AF1 250 to its first success in a Gran Prix race.

In 1988 Aprilia begins in the 125 class and immediately, in the French GP, achieves its first podium in the eighth-litre category.

'90 - '95

A few seasons later, hungry for results, the Aprilia 250 changes radically starting with its name: the RS250V is born for the 1991 season and the new bike immediately proves to be an exceptional machine. Victory arrives with Chili on the Assen track, immediately replicated by Reggiani at the Paul Ricard. And then a great talent explodes: Max Biaggi wins the European 250 championship.

1991 also brings the first victory in the 125 class for Aprilia: Alessandro Gramigni wins in Czechoslovakia.

In 1992 the first Aprilia title in World Championship Motorcycle Racing arrives: Alex Gramigni is 125 World Champion. And so the 250 is solidly at the top: Chili wins at Hockenheim, Assen and Donington, Reggiani at Jerez and Magny Cours, while the rookie, Biaggi, wins his first GP at Kyalami. Aprilia also wins two world championships in offroad: Tommy Avhala is crowned World Trial Champion with the Aprilia Climber and Aprilia is Manufacturer Champion.After a 1993 in which both the 250 and 125 bikes confirm their competitiveness but just barely miss the title, the year of praises arrives: it’s 1994 when Max Biaggi wins in Australia, Malaysia, Holland, the Czech Republic and Barcellona to become 250 Class World Champion on an Aprilia.

In the same year Kazuto Sakata is World Champion on his Aprilia 125: he wins in Australia, Spain and the Czech Republic. Aprilia also collects eight pole positions and nine fastest race laps. Aprilia also makes its début in the 500 class with Reggiani riding an extremely agile two cylinder: an innovative choice in classic Aprilia tradition.

In the 1995 season Biaggi and Aprilia are unstoppable: Malaysia, Germany, Italy, Holland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Argentina and Europe bring the season victories which take Max Biaggi to confirmation of his status as World Champion and Aprilia to its first Manufacturer title. Sakata, on the other hand, is unable to repeat the performance in the 125 class and closes out the season in second place: Aprilia wins three times anyway, in Great Britain and the Czech Republic with the World Champion and the third time – in Brazil – with Masaki Tokudome. In the 500 class the two cylinder takes several steps forward, enough for Reggiani to end 10th in front of several official four cylinders.

'96 - 2000

In 1996 Max Biaggi is three-time champion: Malaysia, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Catalonia and Australia are the stops along a triumphant road which leads Biaggi to the third consecutive world championship. And the manufacturer title arrives thanks to Tokudome’s victories in Indonesia, Japan, Germany and San Marino, Perugini in Malaysia and Great Britain, a very young Valentino Rossi in the Czech Republic, Oettl in Italy and Gary McCoy in Australia.

In 1997 Aprilia wins two more World Championships: 125 class Rider and Manufacturer. The new colours bearer is Valentino Rossi who literally dominates the smallest class, taking 11 victories in 15 races: Malaysia, Spain, Italy, Austria, France, Holland, San Marino, Germany, Brazil, Great Britain, Catalonia and Indonesia.

The 1998 season is a triumph for Aprilia who, in the 250 class, wins 13 of the 14 GP races, leaving only the opening race in Japan to the competition. Loris Capirossi wins the Rider championship. The superiority of the Aprilia 250 has been such that its riders have taken all three steps on the podium four times. Aprilia also wins the 250 World Manufacturer Championship with a large gap.

In the 125 class Kazuto Sakata wins the Rider Championship thanks to a season of dominance in Great Britain, France, Spain and Japan.

1999 is the year of Valentino Rossi who wins the 250 title astride a fabulous two cylinder Aprilia RSW, winning on 9 occasions. Behind Rossi the Aprilia “customers” also shine with Battaini, Waldmann, McWilliams and Lucchi. Thanks also to them, Aprilia makes it a double win with the Manufacturer Championship. The bold two cylinder 500 project has a moment of great brilliance at Donington: Harada comes as close as ever to victory after the podium that Paul Ricard wins, and the fourth places from Mugello (where he had taken pole position) and Catalonia. 1999 is also the year for Aprilia’s début in the SBK championship. With the two cylinder RSV Mille the Veneto-based manufacturer establishes itself for the first time with the great 4 stroke competition bikes.

2000 - 2005

Consecration arrives in 2000: participating for the first time in Superbike with an official team, Aprilia astonishes: Troy Corser takes five victories and four Superpoles, just missing the title. In the World Motorcycle Racing Championship the triumphs continue: Roberto Locatelli is World Champion in the 125 class for the fifteenth world title in Aprilia history.

In 2001 SBK also brings great satisfaction with three victories (two for Corser and one for Laconi), eight podiums and three Superpoles. It is an interlocutory year in the World Motorcycle Racing Championship: in the 250 class Aprilia takes five victories while only two come in the 125 class (Cecchinello in Catalonia and Sanna in Germany).

But in 2002 the comeback is ready: Aprilia bankrupts the World Motorcycle Racing Championship with an extraordinary four of a kind comprised of 4 wreaths: two world manufacturer titles in the 125 and 250 classes and two rider titles in 250 with Marco Melandri and 125 with Arnaud Vincent. The eighth-litre Aprilias win 8 of the 16 races on the schedule, but it is in the 250 class that their supremacy is absolutely crushing. The fourth-litres from Noale win 14 of the 16 races. 2002 is also the year of the three cylinder RS Cube début which Aprilia introduces in the brand new regina MotoGP class.

In 2003 Aprilia wins three titles: 125 Manufacturer (with 10 wins), 250 Rider (a resounding Manuel Poggiali wins the championship in his début) and 250 Manufacturer (thanks to 14 victories). The MotoGP season is more troubled: the RS Cube makes a fine début in the hands of Colin Edwards and Nori Haga, takes a fastest race lap time during the French GP and shows encouraging performance; then comes a dark period which fades only toward the end.

2004 and 2005 are two transitional seasons which see Aprilia’s return in off-road. The Noale Racing Division also pours its skill into Motocross, Enduro and Supermotard: the revolutionary Aprilia two cylinder engine takes Jerome Giraudo to the historic world champion title in the S2 category. The Manufacturer championship title arrives from the 125 MotoGP championship.