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GP Week : Issue 146
The Aprilia CRT bikes met the real racing bikes for the first time at Jerez. Rather unsurprisingly, given their strong performance in separate tests, they went rather well. Not enough to challenge the fastest factory guys ... but Randy de Puniet on the Aspar ART was ahead of some of the satellite Ducatis on the first dry day, and less than a tenth slower than Rossi’s factory bike. There is another factor: Jerez is a technical track, one corner set running into the next and little chance for a 1000cc MotoGP prototype to use its extra power. All the same, if Dorna needs to slow the factory bikes down to make the CRT teams more competitive, it doesn’t look as though it will be by very much. More trenchant, however, is the nature of the Aprilia ART. We have explored already the thought that it is closer to a full factory production racer than to the concept of “build-your-own” CRT bike. It is equally true that it is closer to a World Superbike than to anything else. Almost identical, in fact, to the same factory’s RSV4, a serial race and indeed one-time title winner. There are important differences, of course, but only really significant in the chassis. The ART GP bike has a stiffer purpose-built racing frame, reminiscent of the shapely aluminium units familiar on Aprilia 125 and 250 bikes of yore. The RSV4 Superbike has a more homely production frame, albeit also in aluminium. In fact, the chassis change was required only because of different stiffness ratios needed for the Bridgestone tyres. It is not too far-fetched to imagine that without the very different rubber, the Superbike would have transferred over to the grown-up class almost as seamlessly. You can see where this is going. In a time when all racing (indeed, pretty much all of commerce) is struggling for survival, let alone growth – why oh why do we have two series that are so very similar. Superbikes were meant to provide a backdrop to the MotoGP prototypes, and more importantly a showcase for street motorcycles. But the technical landscape has changed so much, most especially thanks to cost-saving rules, that the street bikes are now informing race engineering, rather than the other way around. Dorna’s intention is to continue to clip the wings of the prototypes. This will in turn bring them closer to CRT bikes. And closer as well to Superbikes. Rather surprisingly, given than anti- monopoly rules banned the same company (CVD) from owning MotoGP and Formula One, both Superbikes and MotoGP have the same owner – Bridgepoint. When will they see that it is time for the two series to become one, to the benefit of both ... and to racing in general. OPINION MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor WHEN WILL RACING'S OWNERS GET SENSIBLE? 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: OPINION