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Jensen Beeler

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For a variety of reasons, the MotoGP team unveilings have become a dreadful boring affair in the recent years.

It used to be, that these events would be our first chance to see the new bikes from the coming season, but now these new bike revisions have become too secret to show before the racing started.

Instead, the events have become a release of new livery designs, plastered on last year’s bikes. The liveries rarely change though, and with the current rules package, the same could be said about the machinery.

That is not the case with the factory Aprilia Racing squad, however. Developing the Aprilia RS-GP at a rapid pace, we are witnessing a constantly evolving motorcycle.

Episode 188 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one covers the launch of the Petronas Sepang Racing Team and the dynamic between the squad’s two riders: Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi.

On the mics, we have Steve English, David Emmett, and Adam Wheeler, along with some audio from Franco Morbidelli’s media scrum from the Petronas Yamaha launch event.

It has been a long, long time since Valentino Rossi found himself outside of a factory team in grand prix racing, but the 2021 season sees The Doctor in the Petronas Sepang Racing Team, alongside Franco Morbidelli.

Rossi’s long racing career has bore championship fruit nine times, and while no one expects the Italian to add to that tally in the coming season, the 42-year-old can certainly surprise on race day, and certainly has some race wins still in his future.

The news that the Buell Motorcycles name would return from the shadows of the motorcycle industry has certainly stirred the two-wheel world . The American brand was not without its rabid fans, but it garnered plenty of detractors as well over the course of its history, and through its various incarnations.

Never quite at home inside the Harley-Davidson family, the Buell Motorcycle Company was shuttered in October 2009. Not one to quit though, Erik Buell continued the company's ideals in another self-branded endeavor: Erik Buell Racing.

This startup would be short-lived though, bringing only two models to market, in its roughly five-year run. Despite being unshackled from Harley-Davidson, EBR foundered in the marketplace, and floundered on the race track.

At the conclusion of both of these separate ventures, there was Liquid Asset Partners - a Michigan-based company that makes its business from buying the assets of bankrupt companies and flipping them to buyers for a profit.

But for Bill Melvin (the CEO of LAP), the motorcycle brands of Buell and EBR were not business as usual.

At the end of EBR's road under Erik Buell's management, LAP continued its operations, albeit in a very limited manner, assembling motorcycles from the plethora of parts LAP had acquired in the bankruptcy proceedings, and selling them to EBR's remaining enthusiastic customers.

When the chance came to buy the Buell name from Harley-Davidson, LAP didn't hesitate. The two estranged motorcycle companies of Erik Buell could now merge under one roof, and Buell Motorcycles was born again.

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Aprilia is continuing its curious launches for its 2021 motorcycles, trickling out information about the machines over multiple “debut” releases.

While we still wait for a glimpse of the right-hand side of the 2021 Aprilia RSV4, today we are getting some new information about the soon-to-be-released Aprilia Tuono 660, which is going to change how this bike is perceived in the US market.