Trouble continues to brew in the Aprilia camp. The Italian company's decision to pull out of Moto2 at the end of November last year looks set to have even more serious repercussions, as the authoritative Italian site GPOne.com is reporting rumors that Aprilia's racing boss Giampiero Sacchi could leave his role as head of the factory's racing program altogether. Sacchi's departure would be a body blow to the Noale factory, as Sacchi has been with Aprilia since the 80s and has worked with all of the great stars that the company has produced, from Max Biaggi to Tetsuya Harada, Valentino Rossi to Jorge Lorenzo.
The root of the problem, according to GPOne.com, is the long-standing rivalry between Sacchi and Aprilia's General Director Leo Mercanti. The high-profile CEO of the Piaggio Group Roberto Colaninno is reportedly tired of the bickering between Sacchi and Mercanti, and has been taking steps to sort the situation out.
But Aprilia's racing plans may also motivate Sacchi's rumored departure. Sacchi has been inside the Grand Prix paddock for a very long time, and with the 250s gone, Aprilia out of Moto2 and reducing their investment in 125s and no - public - plans to enter MotoGP, Sacchi would be forced to move to World Superbikes. The veteran racing boss may not have much desire to do so, despite being reunited with his former protege Max Biaggi.
Sacchi was due to be present at the official launch of the Aprilia World Superbike team on February 9th. If he is not present, then the writing will be on the wall.