MotoGP

Aprilia set to up MotoGP investment with in-house team from 2022

The 2020 Aprilia RS-GP is likely to be the first step in a move for Aprilia to go full-factory MotoGP effort from 2022 with Gresini becoming satellite team

Aprilia is set to increase control of its MotoGP effort from 2022 with a move to run a full factory team in-house, with Gresini Racing potentially assuming satellite status.

Of the six manufacturers currently competing on the MotoGP grid, Aprilia is the only manufacturer not to run a full works team from its own base, instead entrusting the operational side of the entry to Gresini Racing in an effective semi-satellite format.

On the back of its third WorldSBK title in three years, Aprilia returned to MotoGP in 2015 but did so via the Gresini Racing team, which had competed as a Honda satellite effort since 2002, winning 14 races. However, success has been hard to replicate for the team since then, Aprilia finishing bottom of the manufacturers’ standings for five years in a row.

Moving forward though Aprilia is preparing to go toe-to-toe with its rivals by taking its MotoGP effort completely in-house for what would be a full factory entry based out of Noale. Gresini Racing could then revert back to a satellite team but remain in the Aprilia fold.

“Aprilia is responsible for the bike, I take care of the management, so we're talking about logistics, mechanics, hospitality, we can call it the shell," Fausto Gresini told GPOne

"This allows Aprilia to focus more on the MotoGP project, but we are in any case talking about a company that is in all respects officially present like any other company, nothing is missing.”

Aprilia to put its money where its mouth is?

It’s been a sobering few years for Aprilia, which has largely plateaued in terms of form. It’s easy to forget it returned to MotoGP at the same time as Suzuki, but while that team is celebrating wins now, Aprilia has been surpassed by KTM, which had never even competed in MotoGP before 2017.

With Aleix Espargaro becoming increasingly vocal about Aprilia’s lack of progress and the reported limited resources afforded by parent company Piaggio, it seems his questions are being answered with a brand-new bike and philosophy about to be debuted in Malaysia.

With a brand-new engine and completely different design – plus plenty of new faces behind the scenes - the 2020 Aprilia RS-GP is set to be the most radically different bike out there compared with last year.

This tallies into Gresini’s suggestion that Aprilia will go in-house from 2022 when the bike should have developed into a competitive machine, while the prospect of a pair of machines for Gresini means we should have 24 bikes on the grid from 2022 – possibly 26 if Suzuki add its own satellite effort.

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