Looking to add more manufacturers to the traveling circus, AMA Pro Road Racing has homologated the Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS for racing duty, though with one interesting caveat. Instead of giving the 999cc Italian V4 a birth in the AMA Pro Superbike class, the RSV4 Factory has been homologated instead to race in the AMA Pro Supersport.
With Aprilia USA lacking a 600cc machine and the budget necessary to race at the factory level in the Superbike class, AMA Pro Road Racing officials have come to a compromise with the Italian company on how it can enter the American road racing scene with its current equipment, and hopefully thus spur its sport bike sales.
“Since the Aprilia RSV4 Factory has nearly twice the capacity as a regular supersport machine, we have agreed with the AMA that our riders will only be able to turn the throttle halfway while racing in the Supersport class,” an Aprilia Racing representative told us.
Unlike the homologation requirements concerning the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, which has a higher minimum weight to compensate for its 37cc displacement advantage, the new agreement over the throttle use on the Aprilia is grounded in a more realistic approach to level the field of competition.
“Since few of the Supersport teams are running anywhere near the minimum weight figure, the AMA decided to be more pragmatic in its solution with Aprilia,” said an AMA Pro Racing official wishing to remain anonymous. “So, Aprilia riders will be limited to only twisting the throttle halfway on the RSV4, and must use the OEM-fitted throttle assembly on their bikes.”
“This should make the RSV4 behave more like a 500cc machine power-wise, which is a more-than-fair provision considering the close level of competition in the class,” he added. When asked how race direction would enforce the half-throttle rule, the same official explained the AMA’s intricate enforcement plan.
“Primarily, we will use the honor system,” he said directly. “Sure, we expect that there will be a few instances where riders will be tempted to use 60% maybe 70% of the throttle in close finishes, but overall we think that the teams and riders will adhere to these provisions, which are more like guidelines than rules anyways.”
Rumors that Max Biaggi could leave retirement, and race for Aprilia in the USA have been unconfirmed. However, with the the Italian World Champion splitting his time between Rome and his second home in Malibu, California, an American road racing season could be a possibility — provided the AMA waives the age restrictions on the Supersport class.
Time will tell on this one, but an official announcement is expected before April 2nd.