With the price of Japanese superbikes edging ever closer to European 'exotica', the products of Italian factories such as Aprilia and Ducati are starting to appear better value than ever - especially these base model machines.
Actually, it's a bit unfair to call the RSV4 R APRC or 1198 'base' models, because they're a long way from being basic. They don't have Ohlins suspension, or the slightly jazzier wheels or carbon-fibre garnish of their more expensive 'bling' models. But they do have the same power and kind of performance, handling and brakes that ex-World Superbike and British Superbike champ Neil Hodgson would have killed for on his factory race bikes just a few years ago.
They also now come with a host of electronic rider aids as standard. Both machines have an eight-stage traction control system and a quickshifter, while the Aprilia takes it all a stage further with its anti-wheelie and launch control systems along with variable power maps. But just how useful are those rider aids?
To find the answer to that question, we asked Hodgson to put them to the test on the road and at our test track at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire.
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Watch the Aprilia RSV4 R APRC being performance tested at Bruntingthorpe:
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