Gresini: Aprilia needs time to challenge in MotoGP

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Fausto Gresini has admitted Aprilia will need time to establish itself as a major force in the MotoGP world championship.

The Italian manufacturer will take on the likes of Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki in 2015 after bringing forward its proposed premier class return by one season, having initially planned to compete in 2016.

Aprilia will race an upgraded version of its current ART Open class bike next season. The new bike will run an all-new pneumatic valve motor and plans are also in place for a seamless shift gearbox.

Aprilia will also run its own software next season but benefit from Open class concessions like softer tyres and extra fuel permitted to new or returning entries.

Aprilia hasn’t raced with an official factory entry in MotoGP since 2004, but will be back with a two-rider effort in 2015, led by Spaniard Alvaro Bautista and former 250GP world champion Marco Melandri.

And Gresini, who ended an 18-year collaboration with Honda to run the Aprilia factory project until the end of 2018 at least, believes it is going to need time for Aprilia to threaten Japanese domination of the premier class.

Gresini said: “It will not be an easy road because MotoGP is a tough category and it will be difficult to make results immediately. We have a factory behind us that will work, but we will compete with big brands that have spent many years investing in technology and will not be immediately easy to find a way to reach them. The agreement is for the next four years, so we have long enough to begin to understand and see what we need in time. It will be a very different experience to what we have done so far, because working closely with a factory is obviously very different from being a satellite team. “

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt