Aprilia to sacrifice WSB project for MotoGP return?

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 26 August 2014 13:36

Aprilia may sacrifice its factory World Superbike squad to complete a shock move to MotoGP in 2015.

In a surprise strategic change, the Noale factory has decided to return to MotoGP next season, having initially planned to take on Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki in the premier class in 2016.

But the decision to return to MotoGP for the first time since with an official factory effort has put the future of its World Superbike squad in jeopardy.

Aprilia won the WSB title with Max Biaggi in 2010 and 2012 when current Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna was at the helm.

But sceptics don’t believe Aprilia has the financial clout to support a factory project in World Superbikes and MotoGP.

French rider Sylvain Guintoli is currently closest challenger to Tom Sykes in the 2014 series, but it is not clear if Aprilia will continue in WSB beyond this season.

Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano told MCN: “We are trying to find a way to stay in World Superbikes because we are really linked with the heart to that championship but it won’t be easy. If we confirm the move to MotoGP then hopefully we will remain in World Superbikes but it is not sure.”

Aprilia will return to MotoGP next season with Marco Melandri, while Alvaro Bautista has emerged as a strong candidate for the second seat.