The day of reckoning draws ever nearer for Aprilia's Moto2 project. The meeting which Aspar's Jorge Martinez was due to have with Aprilia on Tuesday has been put back to Thursday, but the chances of the bikes actually making it onto the track appear to be dwindling. In an interview with the respected Italian site GPOne.com, Aprilia's head of racing Gigi dall'Igna was somber about the project's future.
"Aprilia will not be competing in Moto2, that much is certain," dall'Igna said. "The decision has been taken at the very highest level and is not open to discussion. What we are trying to do is save the work we have done so far. For this reason we are looking at handing over the project to a third party, but that's not a simple task. We would need to reach agreement on several key points and we would have to be able to trust the partner we chose completely."
The partner Aprilia has been talking to is Jorge Martinez, but despite the Aspar team's long connection with the Noale factory, a deal is still some way away. Martinez was due to fly to Italy and meet with Aprilia on Tuesday, but this meeting got postponed until Thursday. Martinez' team manager Gino Borsoi did make it to the factory, and was impressed by what he saw. "Gino has seen the bike as it stands so far and he told me it looks spectacular," Martinez told Spanish sports daily AS.com. "It is without question the best Moto2 we have seen so far, something which is normal given the enormous experience which Aprilia and their engineers have in the World Championship. This is the bike I was hoping for," Martinez said.
If Aspar and Aprilia are to reach an agreement, they will have to move fast. The next official test for the Moto2 class will be on December 9th at Valencia, and if the bike is not there, Gigi dall'Igna believes the chances of it appearing anywhere will be slim. "If the bike is not on the track at Valencia, it means that they only place you will seem them will be in the museum," dall'Igna told GPOne.com.
It may seem like a terrible waste of resources to scrap a project which has had so much time, money and effort invested in it, but dall'Igna felt that not all was lost. "The costs have paid off as a learning experience," Aprilia's race department director said. "We may be able to use this for a future 600cc road bike, but anyway, the skills and knowledge we have gained from working on the project will become part of the race department." Those skills could pay off fairly quickly: Rumors continue that Aprilia will be making a return to the MotoGP class with a chassis developed for its RSV4 engine when the class switches back to 1000cc in 2012. The lessons learned from the Moto2 project could well be applicable there.