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Aprilia motorcycles is an Italian motorcycle company, they are one of the seven marquees that are owned by the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer Piaggio.
Aprilia started production as a scooter manufacturer but has more recently been known for its race winning sport bikes. It is also known for its flagship 1,000 cc V-twin Superbike, the RSV Mille and latest V4 based RSV 4.
Despite being a relatively small company by global motorcycling standards, Aprilia motorcycles is very active in Motorcycle sport. 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 motorcycles has now returned to World Superbike for the 2009 season with Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano as their factory riders both piloting the RSV4.
Even though Aprilla was a relatively small company compared to other already more popular motorcycling brands. Aprilla Motorcycles are very active in the Motorcycle sport. They enter many bikes into the Road Racing Formats which include the FIM 125cc and FIM 250cc World Championship and also the FIM 500cc World Championship. Between 2002 and 2004 they entered teams into the FIM MotoGP World Championship. From 1999 to 2003 they also participated in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Aprilla returned to focus on the 2009 World Superbike season with Max Biaggi and Shinya Nakano as the riders both riding the NSV4 and they have been successful ever since.
Aprilia Motorcycles Racing has seen varying successes. They were extremely successful in the smaller displacement categories, winning numerous races and championships in the 125cc Grand Prix and 250cc Grand Prix classes. However, their 500cc Grand Prix bike was less competitive, and their MotoGP effort, dubbed the RS3 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. The technologies including fly by wire throttle and pneumatic valve actuation systems.
In the Superbike World Championship they were third in rider's championship in season 2000 with pilot 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 race bike was specially built by Cosworth.
In 2006 and 2007 the team dominated the 250cc class of the MotoGP partly due to the ability of Jorge Lorenzo and partly to the excellent quality of the 250cc motorcycle.
Aprilla also features in the off road racing world with the 450cc V2 motocross bike producing respectable results in both the off road and on road categories.
Aprilia motorcycles 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.Aprilla continued the trend into taking advantage of the lighter weights with the introduction of the RS3 MotoGP bike. This featured three cylinders in a inline triple layout. This bike had the most less number of cylinders on the GP paddock. Yamaha had gone ahead with four, whilst Suzuki and Ducatti going for V- Four layouts. Honda took it further producing a V-5 engine to run in their RC211V bike.