Aprilia To Field Moto2 Entry

Remarkable news surfaced at the German Grand Prix. According to knowledgable sources in the paddock, Aprilia is about to make an about turn on its previous resolution to walk away from the Moto2 class, and submit an entry. Work is apparently already underway, and the bike should be ready within the next month or so.

The news is little less than astonishing, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the introduction of four cylinder 600cc bikes as the Moto2 class, slated to replace the 250cc bikes at the start of next season, was taken against the express wishes of both Aprilia and KTM. KTM pulled out of the 250cc class a year early, stating their disgust at the way the decision had been forced through in the Grand Prix Commission as their main reason. The cynics in the paddock - of which there are plenty - pointed to KTM's failure to win a title in the 250cc class, and the severe financial constraints forced upon the Austrian factory by the global economic crisis.

Secondly, an Aprilia Moto2 entry would be powered by a Honda engine, the Japanese racing giant having been awarded the contract to produce and tune the engines. Just how Honda would feel if Aprilia starts winning races, claiming victory for the Noale factory while powered by a Honda lump, remains to be seen. The prospect of a Honda-powered Aprilia raised a myriad of questions about the prominence that Honda will be given on the bike, and just how that will fit in with the rest of the Moto2 team's sponsors. The thought of a bike with a huge Aprilia logo splashed across the fairing, and a tiny little sticker with Honda on, is both highly entertaining and deeply puzzling.

It also offers other small factories a chance of cheap publicity. Factories such as MV Agusta, Benelli, Derbi, Gilera Moto Morini and a host of other small manufacturers could launch Moto2 bids, using Honda power to promote their own engineering prowess. Honda may end up being less than thrilled with the prospect of an Aprilia standing on top of the podium, taking all the praise for the engine which HRC built.

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Comments

So no matter who wins, the engine won't be making a difference.
In all logic, victories will be up to riders and teams, not to Honda engines. I agree though that factories like Aprilia may find this is a cheap way of getting publicity for the whole package when their input is way smaller.
That said, they will also be paying Honda for those engines (and Honda isn't expected to lose money on that activity), and risk losing to other minor teams now that they can't make the difference with their own factory supporting their own bikes.
In any case, to me it would be a good thing for the championship to have Aprilia on board, and I don't think it would be that bad for Honda.

No more puzzling than a non-Honda satellite team like, say, Tech Trois running a Honda powered bike...

I would assume that Aprilia sees a business opportunity whereby they would develop, if not a turnkey bike, then a rolling chassis package to peddle to the teams that don't have the resources to do so.

"I would assume that Aprilia sees a business opportunity whereby they would develop, if not a turnkey bike, then a rolling chassis package to peddle to the teams that don't have the resources to do so."

Quite plausible, and could be a very entertaining prospect.

Talk about turning lemons into Lemonade!

Aprilia did use a Rotax engine in their RSV1000 twin racer back in the late 90's early 2000's before moving to their own powerplant for the V4, just as they used the RGV engine as the basis for their 250s. For them to run a bike with a Honda engine would effectively be the same surely? The bike after all is the package and not just what's stamped on the engine covers.
Are we only getting hung up on this because it's a Honda engine and their involvement with the rest of the GP series? It's not a one make series after all - Honda just supply the engines. Perhaps Honda view things a wee bit differently....
All the same, I'd love to see the how HRC take it if this did go ahead and Aprilia starting winning. Just when they thought they'd killed Aprilia off by outlawing strokers!

I am thinking along the same lines with you, and agree that Aprilla had sucessfully managed to run 3rd party engines with their chassis, except for the woeful Cube MotoGP project.

As long as Honda is not allowed to freely revise the one make engine year after year, HRC's upperhand should probably be limited to the fact that they know what kind of engine character and the chassis sweet spots to be built upon, before other teams get their hands on the engine, which should fade away in time.

Previously Aprilia had less of a stake in engine development. Now they are trying to impress upon the market their engine building capabilities.

I agree with Rats in seeing a difference. Regarding the RSV1000 twin and the Cube MotoGP triple, Rotax and Cosworth respectively were contracted to build "Aprilia" engines...for Aprilia. With Moto2, every participant is being more or less forced to use a Honda inline-4 engine to compete. There is no choice if you want to play in Moto2.

While it's good to see Aprilia is going to give Moto2 a shot, it shouldn't have to have been like this. It's almost a no-brainer that given a choice, Aprilia would not be coming to the Moto2 party with a racer using an inline-4 powerplant, let alone a Honda. To me, this comes off as a last minute attempt to keep some form of their presence in the class (former class, anyhow) that helped build their company to what it is today.

My initial read of this story led me to believe that Aprilia might be doing this as a "prep" for a serious entry in MotoGP. Then I remembered that the RSV4 is doing great in WSBK. Its engine and chassis are probably closer to what they would use in MotoGP than what they could create in Moto2.

"GPOne is saying that Aprilia boss Giampiero Sacchi, currently manager of the Aprilia World Superbike racing team, is in talks with HRC to run Lorenzo, as part of a wider cooperation between the two factories."

This little item perhaps explains Aprilia's interest.

Cheers
Barry