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Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle company, one of the marques owned by Piaggio. Aprilia started as a scooter manufacturer, but has more recently come to be known for its race-winning sportsbikes. It is also known for its flagship 1,000 cc V-twin Superbike, the RSV Mille and latest V4-based RSV4.
Aprilia was founded after the Second World War by Cavaliere Alberto Beggio, as a bicycle production factory at Noale, Italy in the province of Venice. Albertoâ€™s son, Ivano Beggio, took over the helm of the company in 1968 and constructed a 50 cc "motorcycle" with a dozen or so collaborators. The first production Aprilia mopeds were named ColibrĂ¬, Daniela and Packi. Aprilia later produced a motocross bike in 1970 called the Scarabeo. Produced until the end of the 1970s, the Scarabeo came in 50 and 125 cc versions.
In 1977 Ivan Alborghetti from Milan, Italy won the Italian 125 and 250 cc motorcross championships on Aprilias. In 1978 Alborghetti closed the season with two third places in individual races and sixth place in the World Championship. In the 1980s Aprilia added enduro, trials and road bikes of between 50 and 600 cc. In 1981 Aprilia introduced the TL320 trials machine. In 1983 Aprilia launched to St 125 road bike. In 1984 Aprilia launched an improved model called STX, and an enduro, called the ET 50.
In 1985, Aprilia started outsourcing engines for some models to the Austrian company Rotax. In 1985 Aprilia launched a 125 STX and 350 STX. In 1986 Aprilia launched the AF1; a small sports model, and the Tuareg; a large tanked bike for African rallies like the Dakar Rally. Aprilia factory rider Philippe Berlatier contended for the trials world championship reaching fifth place, and Loris Reggiani rode an Aprilia GP 250 with Rotax engine to sixth place in the road racing World Championship. Two seasons later, on August 30, 1987, at San Marino Grand Prix in Misano Loris Reggiani's AF1 won the first World Speed Championship.
In 1990 Aprilia launched the Pegaso 600, a road bike derived from off-road mechanics. Later, in 1992 Aprilia rider Alessandro Gramigni won the World 125 Road Racing Championship title. Also in 1992, Tommy Ahvala won the World Trials Championship on an Aprilia Climber. Since then, Aprilia has 124 times won 125 and 250 cc class Grand Prix, 15 Road Racing World Championship titles, and 16 European speed titles. Many world champions started on Aprilia such as Biaggi, Capirossi, Gramigni, Locatelli, Sakata and Rossi.
Also in the 1990s, Aprilia entered the scooter market starting in 1990 with Italyâ€™s first all-plastic scooter, the Amico. In 1992, Aprilia introduced the Amico LK and the twin cylinder Pegaso 125, both with catalytic converters. In 1993 Aprilia launched a large diameter wheel scooter reusing the name Scarabeo with a four-stroke, four-valve engine. Later Aprilia launched more scooters such as the Leonardo, the SR and the Gulliver.
In 1995, Aprilia commissioned Philippe Starck to design the MotĂ˛ which was shown in New Yorkâ€™s Modern Art Museum. Also in 1995 Aprilia launched the two stroke RS 125 and RS 250 sports bikes. In 1998 Aprilia launched what is its current flagship model the RSV Mille, a 1000cc V-Twin Superbike, and the Falco, a 1000cc V-Twin sport tourer with emphasis on sport. Both bikes used a variation of a Rotax 1000cc engine.
In 1999 Aprilia entered World Superbike Championship racing with its RSV Mille, and during 2000, Aprilia acquired Moto-Guzzi and Laverda, both historic heritage Italian marques. In 2000 Aprilia launched the 50 cc DiTech (Direct Injection Technology) two stroke engine for scooters which provides high mileage and low emissions, and also the RST Futura, a sport tourer, and the ETV 1000 Caponord; an adventure touring motorcycle. Both of these latter two motorcycles used a variation of the Rotax 1000 cc V-Twin.
Most recently, in 2003, Aprilia launched the RSV Mille Tuono which was essentially an RSV Mille with motorcross-style high handlebars and only a small headlight fairing. Most of the major motorcycle magazines picked it for the best bike of the year. In 2004 Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio & C. SpA, to form the worldâ€™s fourth largest motorcycle group with 1.5 billion Euro in sales, an annual production capacity of over 600,000 vehicles, and a presence in 50 countries.
With the acquisition by Piaggio, the newly nominated President of Aprilia is Roberto Colaninno (President of Piaggio & C.), and the Managing Director is Rocco Sabelli. The founder, Ivano Beggio, is the Honorary President. On 15 August 2010, Aprilia became the most successful motorcycle racing brand in history, surpassing fellow Italian MV Agusta with a record 276th victory.
GĂˇbor TalmĂˇcsi, 2007 125 cc World Championship winner, aboard his Aprilia RS125 racebike.
Despite being a relatively small company by global motorcycling standards, Aprilia is very active in motorcycle sports. It contests many Road Racing formulae, including the FIM 125 cc World Championship, the FIM 250 cc World Championship, and the now-defunct FIM 500 cc World Championship. From 2002 to 2004 they participated in the FIM MotoGP World Championship, and from 1999 to 2003 they participated in the FIM Superbike World Championship. Aprilia has now returned to World Superbike for the 2009 season with Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano as their factory riders both riding the RSV4.
MotoGP World Championship
Aprilia Racing has seen varying successes. They were successful in the smaller displacement categories, winning numerous races & championships in the 125 cc Grand Prix and 250 cc Grand Prix classes. However, their 500 cc Grand Prix bike was less competitive, and their MotoGP effort, dubbed the RS Cube, was technically advanced but difficult to ride and performed poorly in the championship. The Cube did, however, feature many advanced technologies either not seen or only being seen now in other MotoGP bikes â€“ technologies including ride by wire throttle and pneumatic valve actuation systems.
In the Superbike World Championship they were third in rider's championship in season 2000 with rider Troy Corser, and third in manufacturers points and fourth in rider points both in season 2001 with Troy Corser and in 2002 with Noriyuki Haga.
These were their highest water marks for that series. They used a homologation special version of their road bike the RSVR Mille. The motor for the racebike was specially built by Cosworth.
In 2006 and 2007, they dominated the 250 class of MotoGP, partly due to the ability of Jorge Lorenzo, partly to the excellent quality of the 250 motorcycle.
Aprilia also feature in the off-road racing world, with their 450 cc V-2 motocrosser producing respectable results (including race wins) in both off-road (Motocross) and on-road (Supermoto) categories.
The company is also notable for choosing somewhat atypical engine configurations. For example, they progressed with development of a V-2 500 cc Grand Prix bike when other teams were moving to V-4 configurations for what some believed was better and more usable power outputs. Aprilia continued this trend, taking advantage of lighter minimum weights with the introduction of their RS Cube MotoGP bike â€“ featuring three cylinders in an inline triple layout, the bike had the least number of cylinders on the Grand Prix paddock. Yamaha had gone ahead with an inline four layout, whilst Suzuki and Ducati went for (differently-designed)V-Four layouts. Honda took the idea even further, producing the championship-winning RC211V, powered by a V-5 engine.
* 125 cc class
* 250 cc class
MotoGP World Constructors champions
* 250 cc class
** 1995, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
* 125 cc class
** 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
The Aprilia RSA 125 also set the record for the most points earned by a manufacturer in a single season from the 125cc class with 410 points in 2007.It was also the highest points earned by a constructor in Grand Prix motorcycle racing's history until 2011 when 420 points were won by the same bikes winning 16 out of 17 races.
Superbike World Championship (SBK)
Max Biaggi rides the RSV4
In February 2008, Aprilia debuted a V-4 superbike the RSV4 for the 2009 Superbike World Championship season.
On 26 September 2010, Aprilia won with Max Biaggi the 2010 SBK world championship.
Max's winning WSBK bike is now available to factory racers.
Aprilia Factory Race Bike. RSV4
Aprilia models for 2009 and 2010 are:
* RSV4 Factory
* Tuono 1000R Factory
* Tuono 1000R
* Shiver 750
* MANA 850
* SXV 4.5 â€“ 5.5
* Aprilia RX/SX 50
* Aprilia SX 125
* ETV 1000 Caponord
* Pegaso 650
* Pegaso 650 Factory
* Pegaso 650 Trail
* RXV 4.5 â€“ 5.5
* MX 50
* SX 125
* Atlantic 500/400 Sprint
* Atlantic 250/125
* Leonardo 125/150
* Leonardo 250
* Aprilia mojito/habana 50 custom & retro
* Aprilia mojito/habana 125 custom & retro
* SR 50 R Factory
* SR 50 R
* SR 50 Street
* Sportcity 250 200 125
* Scarabeo 50 Street
* Scarabeo 50/100
* Scarabeo 125/200
* Scarabeo 250/400/500