Aprilia’s bid to race in the Moto2 Championship was apparently very short-lived, as Italian moto site Infomoto2 has uncovered a photo of the project, that is of course before Piaggio executives killed the racing effort. Hoping to continue the brand’s domination in the middle-class of GP racing, Aprilia’s Moto2 effort surely suffered from the fact that a Honda CBR motor would reside inside the Italian company’s prototype machine. The conflict of interest is surely understandable, although admittedly Aprilia had no 600cc motor of its own to use for the Moto2 class. Still, a piece of “what could have been” racing history, if you squint hard enough you can see some of Aprilia’s other GP racing efforts in the bike’s design.
Back in 2010, the two-stroke based 250GP class was replaced by its four-stroke successor: Moto2. Dorna originally envisioned Moto2 to be more like the now-created Moto3 class, in which a small number of motor suppliers and custom chassis builders created bikes that GP teams would then race on relatively modest budgest. However, still an unproven formula at the time, the only OEM Dorna could get
beg blackmail persuade to make the 600cc prototype class motors was Honda. The result is what we know today: a very evenly matched racing class that enjoys a grid of some 40+ bikes (cue appaluase).
Moto2, Moto3, and the new CRT rules for MotoGP are a response to the growing cost of GP racing. For 250GP, the a large portion of the reason for creating Moto2 stems from the absolute domination by Aprilia in the class, and the insurmountable amounts of money the company was asking from teams who wished to be competitive in 250cc prototype racing. With a grid fielded almost exclusively by Aprilia (it was a widely held belief that the Derbi bikes were just re-badged Aprilias as well), a team wishing to have a motorcycle that was actually capable of winning a race could expect to fork over a rumored €1 million per year to lease the equipment — that’s nearly half the cost of a satellite MotoGP bike.
Dorna had had enough of this arrangement, and Moto2 was born. Unable to get more OEMs involved with the change though, the Moto2 Championship suffers from being a rolling advertisement for Honda, which supplies the slightly modified CBR600RR spec motors for each Moto2 team. The result of the single-motor supplier situation compounded the problem with getting OEMs involved in the new racing class, as either none of the other factories wanted to race four-stroke 600cc prototype machines; or more importantly, none of the other OEMs wanted a Honda motor to be housed in their race bike.
Such was the case of the Aprilia Moto2 effort. Kiboshed by Piaggio executives, the Italian sport bike company did at least get far enough in its development process to build a machine that could race in Moto2. An amalgamation of Aprilia’s GP racing experience, the fairings look like they came straight off the ill-fated Aprilia RS3 Cube project, while the chassis is very similar to the Aprilia RSA 250 in its design. The Moto2 contender that never was, Aprilia left GP racing altogether, and reportedly dumped that budget into its World Superbike program.
We all know the story of WSBK and Aprilia in 2010, and how Max Biaggi won the World Championship for the Italian brand on the Aprilia RSV4. Now, the Aprilia RSV4 motor is becoming a class favorite with the CRT contingency in MotoGP. With the RSV4 motor widely regarded as being a repurposed MotoGP engine design from the 990cc era, it comes as no surprise then that the V4 lump would now find a home in MotoGP racing. With the news that Aprilia could also be building a prototype chassis around the RSV4 motor, it seems the cycle has come full-circle.