Aprilia started as a scooter manufacturer, but has more recently come to be known for its race-winning sportbikes. It is most recently best known for its flagship 1000 cc V-twin Superbike, the RSV Mille.
Despite being a relatively small company by global motorcycling standards, Aprilia 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 2002–2004 they participated in the FIM MotoGP World Championship, and from 1999–2003 they participated in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
Aprilia Racing saw varying successes. They were extremely successful in the smaller displacement categories, winning numerous races & championships in the 125 cc Grand Prix and 250 cc Grand Prix classes. However, their 500 cc 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 - technologies including fly by wire throttle and pneumatic valve actuation systems. They were 3rd in manufacturers points and 2nd in rider points in the Superbike World Championship 2001 with rider Troy Corser. This was their high water mark for that series. They used a homologation special version of their road bike the RSVR Mille. The motor for the racebike was specially built by Cosworth.
In 2006 & 2007 in they dominated the 250 class of motogp, partly due to the ability of Jorge Lorenzo, partly to the excellent quality of the 250 motorcycle.
Aprilia also feature in the off-road racing world, with their 450 cc V2 motocrosser producing respectable results (including race wins) in both off-road (Motocross) and on-road (Supermoto) categories.
The company is also notable for choosing somewhat atypical engine configurations. For example, they progressed with development of a V2 500 cc Grand Prix bike when other teams were moving to V-Four configurations for what some believed was better & more usable power outputs. Aprilia continued this trend, taking advantage of lighter minimum weights with the introduction of their RS3 MotoGP bike - featuring three cylinders in an inline triple layout, the bike had the least number of cylinders on the Grand Prix paddock. Yamaha had gone ahead with an inline four layout, whilst Suzuki and Ducati went for (differently-designed) V-Four layouts. Honda took the idea even further, producing the championship-winning RC211V, powered by a V5 cylinder engine.
Aprilia models for 2008 are:Road
The Critics: Television - That Was the Week That Was. a Golden Age ; Holy Cross BBC 1 BBC News BBC 1 Prime Suspect ITV 1 Timewatch: Mystery of the Missing Ace BBC 2 the First World War Channel 4 Absolute Power BBC 2
Nov 16, 2003; How do you know if you're living in a Golden Age? The problem is that you don't. Not till it's well over the horizon of history...