Sito Pons announced as part of RNF MotoGP management structure

Sito Pons will join RNF Racing Aprilia in the MotoGP World Championship from 2024 in a new role in the team's management structure.

Sito Pons announced at RNF Racing from 2024

Sito Pons has been announced as a new part of the RNF Racing Aprilia team in MotoGP, starting from the 2024 season.

The news of Pons' arrival at RNF for the 2024 season is actually very funny, but in a very particular way which is specific to the original form of this particular article. Click here to scroll to that original form.

Pons' new role at RNF will be focused around performance, which means his role will be of quite high importance, because what, in racing, is more important than performance?

It will also be Pons' first role in a MotoGP team since 2005, the final season of his own Pons Racing team's participation in the premier class. During those years of top class competition, which stretch back to 1992, Pons Racing won numerous Grand Prix, including the first in the premier class for a Spanish rider when Alex Criville won the 1992 500cc Dutch TT. Pons also listed among the riders who raced for it those such as current Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig; 29-time Grand Prix winner and three-time World Champion Loris Capirossi; and one Max Biaggi, who of course rode a Camel Honda Pons RC211V in the famous MotoGP race at Welkom in 2004.

Since Pons' withdrawal from the MotoGP World Championship, it has competed in Moto2. In the intermediate class World Championship, it won the title once, with Pol Espargaro in 2013. In 2015, Pons won the European Moto2 Championship with Sito's son Edgar, whose teammate that year was current VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini. 

Sito Pons' availability to RNF has arrived after it was announced recently that Pons Racing will cease at the end of the 2023 season, after 32 seasons in Grand Prix racing. Its Moto2 team will be taken over by the MT Helmets MSi squad that currently fields Diogo Moreira and Syarifuddin Azman; while, with RNF, Pons himself will continue into his 42nd season of Grand Prix racing.

Razlan Razali, Founder & Team Principal of CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team, said: "We are thrilled to welcome Sito Pons to the RNF family. His extensive MotoGP experience, valuable insights and dedication align seamlessly with our vision of creating one of the best MotoGP teams. Together with Sito, our mission is to build a sustainable team and strive for strategic excellence with our partners."

Sito Pons said: "I'm excited to rejoin MotoGP, now as part of the CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team. In this new role, I'll bring over 40 years of my MotoGP experience to the table – a decade as a rider and over three decades as a team principal in both MotoGP and Moto2. Working alongside Razlan and his team, we aim to enhance our portfolio by focusing on growing the value of the team. I love challenges and I’m very happy to be part of this new challenge."

The RNF Racing Aprilia MotoGP team is set to announce a ‘MotoGP icon’ as part of its team management.

The official announcement of the identity of said ‘icon’ is set to be made during a press conference later on today (31 August 2023), on the eve of the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Looking through the history of MotoGP, it is extremely hard to find an iconic rider with close enough ties to either RNF or Aprilia to mark them out as the obvious candidate. A total mystery.

Oh wait. No it’s not, because Max Biaggi exists. 

The Roman Emperor has long-held ties with Aprilia stretching back to his 125cc and extremely successful 250cc days. A three-time champion in the 250cc class, Biaggi is arguably the greatest 250 rider of all-time (emphasis on ‘arguably’, Kato fans), but his Aprilia links also stretched into the four-stroke era.

In 2009, Biaggi joined Aprilia’s new WorldSBK programme to ride their RSV4 production sports bike that was originally going to be a MotoGP bike until international bankers lost everyone’s money in 2008 by lending it to people they knew couldn’t afford to pay it back. Very unlucky for the bankers - who could have possibly foreseen that going the wrong way. 

Anyway, for Biaggi, it meant he now had basically a GP-derived sports bike with which to go terrorise the WorldSBK field, because the mistake of the bankers meant Aprilia had to scrap its MotoGP project but also find some profit from the bike it had developed. He an Aprilia won the WorldSBK title in 2010 and 2012, after which Biaggi retired.

Biaggi went on to found the ingeniously named Max Racing Team in the mid-2010s. Initially competing in the Italian CIV Moto3 series, it eventually entered the Moto3 World Championship in 2019 with Aron Canet and Biaggi’s long-time personal sponsor Sterilgarda as title sponsor. The team won Grands Prix, and later merged with Peter Oettl’s Schedl outfit to become the official Husqvarna team on the Austrian-owned Swedish brand’s re-entry to the World Championship in 2020.

That partnership lasted for three seasons, until the end of 2022, when Biaggi and five-time GP winner Oettl fell out with each other, and the Italian was ejected from the setup. 

The Husqvarna team continues in 2023, with its lead rider Ayumu Sasaki currently third in the Moto3 riders’ standings, 26 points behind championship leader Dani Holgado.

For Biaggi, the split means that more of his time is now dedicated to hanging around the Aprilia MotoGP pits, while Sterilgarda is placed on the side of the RNF-run RS-GPs, the best finish for which came at the British Grand Prix where Miguel Oliveira finished fourth. Perhaps Biaggi's formal appointment as part of the team's management structure will be accompanied, eventually, by the retrieval of the team's first silverware with Aprilia machinery.

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