After what has been a very difficult year for Aprilia's effort in MotoGP, the Noale factory is to shake up its racing department. Current Aprilia Racing boss Romano Albesiano is to be moved sideways to concentrate on the technical side of the racing program, while Massimo Rivola, former Ferrari F1 team boss and head of Ferrari Driver Academy, will take over as CEO of Aprilia Racing.
The move is a response to the difficulties Aprilia has faced since making a full-time return to MotoGP. Romano Albesiano's background is in engineering, but being forced to manage both the engineering and the sporting side of Aprilia Racing did not prove easy. Albesiano clashed on occasion with Aprilia Gresini team boss Fausto Gresini over the running of the team, which further detracted from Albesiano's ability to focus on the technical development of the RS-GP.
Rivola's appointment allows for a clear split in responsibilities. Rivola will oversee the entire organization, covering all aspects of racing. Romano Albesiano has been appointed Technical Director, and will oversee the engineering and technical side of the MotoGP project. And Fausto Gresini will focus on managing the MotoGP team, along with the Gresini Moto2 and Moto3 teams.
The press release from Aprilia announcing Rivola's appointment appears below:
MASSIMO RIVOLA TO BE APRILIA RACING CEO
The Piaggio Group announces that from 7 January 2019 Massimo Rivola will assume the responsibilities as CEO of Aprilia Racing.
Forty-seven years old with a business degree, a motorcycle and Aprilia brand enthusiast, Massimo Rivola has the experience of twenty-one seasons and more than 300 GP races in F1. Twelve years in pit lane with Minardi, Toro Rosso and, with seven seasons, he was the longest running Sports Director in the history of Ferrari. He has worked with great champions including Alonso and Vettel. For the last three years he has been the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, taking a young Leclerc from an F3 car to the wheel of the F1 car from Maranello.
The appointment of Rivola, who brings to MotoGP the vast experience accumulated in Formula 1, is another important step in the path of consolidating the Noale racing department and conformation of the Piaggio Group's commitment to growing the MotoGP project.
With this addition, Aprilia Racing continues to grow after the signing of top rider Andrea Iannone, who will ride alongside reconfirmed Aleix Espargaró, the arrival of Bradley Smith as tester and the addition of two new crew chiefs with proven experience, Antonio Jimenez and Fabrizio Cecchini.