The 2020 MotoGP season has already had an interesting start for the Aprilia Racing squad, with the off-season headlines dominated by the doping results of the Italian team’s Italian rider, Andrea Iannone.
While we could learn as soon as next week whether Iannone’s “B” sample tests positive or negative for anabolic steroids, this week the rumors center around the changes coming to the Aprilia RS-GP for next season.
This is because news from Italy pegs some major movements are underway in Noale, and that an all-new design and technical basis for the Aprilia RS-GP is set to debut at the Sepang test next month.
Reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, the biggest change to come is the Italian brand’s four-cylinder engine, which is said to move from its 75° configuration to a 90° V4 arrangement for 2020, similar to what Honda and Ducati have been using.
This new engine is said to bring a 10% increase in horsepower, which could mean up to 280hp on tap for the MotoGP machine, but the design is said to also make progress with engine braking, which should help with Aprilia’s deceleration issues.
Some of this power increase is surely due to design improvements, but one should also note the advantages of a 90° engine design, which is inherently balanced and thus doesn’t require power-sucking balancing shafts and can rev higher.
Packaging the 90° engine might be an issue for Aprilia, as we saw with the Ducati squad’s earlier attempts, and Aprilia likely started with the 75° engine configuration in MotoGP for this very reason.
It is of note as well that Noale chooses a 65° V4 engine configuration for its RSV4 superbike, with the company historically preferring its modern V4 engines to have a narrow cylinder head angle.
An engine configuration alone is a major change for a MotoGP bike, but it would seem that Aprilia Racing is not stopping there.
The team in Noale has been joined by experts from F1, who specialize in electronics and aerodynamics, with the aim of improving the traction of the Aprilia RS-GP.
While the Aprilia factory team has been punching above its weight class in MotoGP for the past few seasons, the outfit has been noticeably behind its fellow factory teams, both in development and results.
But for the 2020 MotoGP Championship, it would seem that Aprilia is making great investments in its technical package, with an eye on making a leap ahead in the weekend results.
Of course, the team still has a personnel issue to contend with in 2020, but one problem at at time. This year has the makings of a banner year for Aprilia in MotoGP. It will be interesting to see what arrives for testing in Sepang next month.
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport