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GP Week : Issue 101
Aprilia says no to MotogP HOPES that Italian manufacturer Aprilia will return to the MotoGP class with the new restricted-bore 1000cc machines of 2012 have been dashed by an off the cuff but unequivocal remark by the head of the Piaggio Group which owns the brand. “At this moment, we have no intention doing that,” said chairman Roberto Colaninno, in response to a direct question at a briefing of financial journalists. It had been called to announce the company’s plans of expansion into the burgeoning Chinese, South-East Asian and Indian scooter markets. Aprilia had been earmarked, along with BMW, for a return to the class the company abandoned at the end of 2004. The company’s RSV4 is a good match with the new regulations for 2012. Max Biaggi yesterday won the World Superbike championship on the bike. Aprilia has been eased out of the junior classes by the end of two-stroke regulations, and its forays into the big class have fallen short. The first attempt was with a lightweight under- size 500 twin; the second was in the 990cc MotoGP class. The three-cylinder “Cube” was sonorous but not successful. However, the Cosworth developed engine did important pioneering electronic work, including the first fly-by- wire throttle. BMW’s possible MotoGP plans are not clear, but the German company is rumoured to be planning a three-rider super-team for a major SBK assault next year. THE mystery rider planning a Moto2 team, as revealed in GPWEEK a fortnight ago, is Valentino Rossi – with the nine- time World Champion planning a future career in team management as retirement inevitably looms closer. The planned team will be run by his life-long friend and close companion ‘Uccio’ Salucci, but under Valentino’s banner. And the man earmarked to ride for the illustrious racing legend is Andrea Iannone, whose Moto2 exploits have produced such speed that rivals have speculated that he must be cheating. Reports suggest that Rossi will bring in his former 250 crew chief Rosanno Brazzi in to run the technical side. Rossi is following the example of a number of illustrious predecessors who swapped leathers for the manager’s chair. Giacomo Agostini ran the factory Yamaha team after his retirement, only to be ousted from the role by Kenny Roberts. That spot in turn passed to Wayne Rainey, making a courageous return to race management after suffering paralysing injuries. Mystery Moto2 team man is ... Rossi Champion will follow Roberts, Agostini into team management New SBK winners will not join new one-litre class Lorenzo: Dani better than us now 17 Moto GP news >>