MotoGP: Aprilia Set For MotoGP With Gresini Team

Paul Carruthers | September 12, 2014

Photography by Gold & Goose
As expected the announcement came today that Gresini Racing will manage Aprilia’s MotoGP team, beginning next season in a four-year deal that will run through the end of the 2018 season. Aprilia is returning to MotoGP one year earlier than expected and riders have yet to be announced, though Marco Melandri is rumored to be headed back to MotoGP with Aprilia – the team he currently races for in World Superbike.

The bike Aprilia will race in 2015 will be based on the current ART bike that runs in the Open class with Danilo Petrucci with a full prototype MotoGP bike expected for 2016.

The move is somewhat of a lifeline for Fausto Gresini’s squad with the team losing it’s Go&Fun sponsorship for next year and thus not being financially able to run Hondas again.

For Aprilia, the move gives them an experienced MotoGP team to run its upstart program.

“I am very glad that Aprilia identified Gresini Racing as the ideal partner to enter the MotoGP World Championship,” said Gresini, a two-time 125cc World Champion. “I would like to thank the Piaggio Group for giving me a fantastic opportunity, that is working closely with such a glorious manufacturer; an Italian brand that has become a synonymous of passion for racing, reaching amazing results worldwide.

“The four years agreement between Gresini Racing and Aprilia opens a new chapter in our history. In this moment I feel a great responsibility, but the motivation to succeed in this exciting, all-Italian challenge is even bigger. The Grand Prix world is part of the Aprilia brand and to represent it in the premier class, the MotoGP World Championship, is a source of great pride for all of us. An incredible reward for the work done in all these years by Gresini Racing.”

The announcement likely means that current Go&Fun Honda rider Scott Redding will not remain with the team as his two-year contract reportedly stipulates that he gets a factory Honda in year two – which is 2015. Alvaro Bautista is rumored to be staying with the team to join Melandri.

“We decided to make our début a year earlier than planned because Aprilia Racing’s technical and competitive skills are absolutely top notch,” said Piaggio Group’s Chairman and CEO, Roberto Colaninno. “Growth in Superbike has been exemplary in this direction from our rookie year in 2009 to the five world titles we’ve won so far with the RSV4. Piaggio Group has been managing Aprilia since 2005 and in less than 10 years Aprilia won 26 of the 52 world titles earned in the entire brand history. In addition to these there are also four more titles: Marco Simoncelli’s 250 World Championship with Gilera and three 125cc class World Championships won by Derbi, which is also part of the Piaggio Group and which took a very young Marc Marquez to his first world title win.”

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-30-year tenure at America’s Daily Motorcycle News Source.