Aprilia is an Italian motorcycle company, one of the marques owned by Piaggio.
Aprilia was founded after the Second World War by Cavaliere Alberto Beggio, as a bicycle production factory at Noale, Italy in the province of Venice. Alberto’s son, Ivano Beggio, took over the helm of the company in 1968 and constructed a 50 cc "motorcycle" with a dozen or so collaborators. The first production Aprilia mopeds were named Colibrì, Daniela and Packi. Aprilia later produced a motocross bike in 1970 called the Scarabeo. Produced until the end of the 1970s, the Scarabeo came in 50 and 125 cc versions.
In the 1980s Aprilia added enduro, trials and road bikes of between 50 and 600 cc. In 1981 Aprilia introduced the TL320 trials machine. In 1983 Aprilia launched to St 125 road bike. In 1984 Aprilia launched an improved model called STX, and an enduro, called the ET 50.
In 1985, Aprilia started outsourcing engines for some models to the Austrian company Rotax. In 1985 Aprilia launched a 125 STX and 350 STX. In 1986 Aprilia launched the AF1; a small sports model, and the Tuareg; a large tanked bike for African rallies like the Dakar Rally.
Aprilia has 124 times won 125 and 250 cc class Grand Prix, 15 Road Racing World Championship titles, and 16 European speed titles. Many world champions started on Aprilia such as Biaggi, Capirossi, Gramigni, Locatelli, Sakata and Rossi.
Also in the 1990s, Aprilia entered the scooter market starting in 1990 with Italy’s first all-plastic scooter, the Amico. In 1992, Aprilia introduced the Amico LK and the two stroke Pegaso 125, both with catalytic converters. In 1993 Aprilia launched a large diameter wheel scooter reusing the name Scarabeo with a four-stroke, four-valve engine. Later Aprilia launched more scooters such as the Leonardo, the SR and the Gulliver.
In 1995, Aprilia commissioned Philippe Starck to design the Motò which was shown in New York’s Modern Art Museum. Also in 1995 Aprilia launched the two stroke RS 125 and RS 250 sports bikes. In 1998 Aprilia launched what is its current flagship model the RSV Mille, a 1000cc V-Twin Superbike, and the Falco, a 1000cc V-Twin sport tourer with emphasis on sport. Both bikes used a variation of a Rotax 1000cc engine.
During 2000, Aprilia acquired Moto-Guzzi and Laverda, both historic heritage Italian marques. In 2000 Aprilia launched the 50 cc DiTech (Direct Injection Technology) two stroke engine for scooters which provides high mileage and low emissions, and also the RST Futura, a sport tourer, and the ETV 1000 Caponord; an adventure touring motorcycle. Both of these latter two motorcycles used a variation of the Rotax 1000 cc V-Twin.
Most recently, in 2003, Aprilia launched the RSV Mille Tuono which was essentially an RSV Mille with motorcross-style high handlebars and only a small headlight fairing. Most of the major motorcycle magazines picked it for the best bike of the year. In 2004 Aprilia was acquired by Piaggio & C. SpA, to form the world’s fourth largest motorcycle group with 1.5 billion Euro in sales, an annual production capacity of over 600,000 vehicles, and a presence in 50 countries.
Despite being a relatively small company by global motorcycling standards, Aprilia is very active in motorcycle sports. 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.
Wed, 06 Nov 2013
Marco Melandri has signed a one-year contract to race with Aprilia‘s factory World Superbike team to ride the RSV4 for the 2014 season. The Ravenna, Italy, native will join the returning Sylvain Guintoli, taking the place of Eugene Laverty on the factory team. The move also reunites Melandri with Aprilia; Melandri raced three seasons on an Aprilia RSV250 in the 250cc Grand Prix championship, winning the title in 2002 for his first, and so far, only world title.
Tue, 05 Nov 2013
Amidst all of the uncertainty with the future of Aprilia’s racing plans, Roberto Colaninno, chairman of the Piaggio Group, which owns Aprilia, confirmed Tuesday at EICMA that the brand was in fact making a full-fledged return to MotoGP in 2016 as a factory team. Colaninno was quoted as saying, “In 2016 Aprilia will return to MotoGP to win and match the success it had in [World] Superbikes.” Aprilia has been going through some turmoil of late when it was announced that technical director Luigi Dall’Igna was jumping ship to rival Ducati. This announcement aims to quell the turmoil and refocus the racing team’s attention.
Fri, 01 Nov 2013
Motorcycle and scooter sales in the U.S. in 2013 remain consistent with last year’s figures, according to data released by the Motorcycle Industry Council. Several manufacturers blamed poor weather for the poor start this year, and the rebounding sales in the third quarter helped to negate the slow sales from earlier in the year.
Mon, 21 Oct 2013
Eugene Laverty did everything he could, scoring a pair of race wins but it was not enough as Tom Sykes rode smartly and conservatively at the season finale in Spain, securing his first ever World Superbike Championship. Sykes landed in Jerez with a 37-point lead over Laverty and a 38-point lead over Sylvain Guintoli. While Laverty battled Marco Melandri to win Race One, Sykes coasted comfortably in third for most of the race to score 16 points, enough to clinch the title.
Mon, 14 Oct 2013
We’re in the process of testing Aprilia’s upgraded-for-2014 Tuono V4R ABS, but our European correspondent, Tor Sagen, beat us to the punch with the following impressions of the revised Tuono from “V4 day” at the fairly new Italian circuit San Martino del Lago near Cremona (home to Stradivarius). Look for our street-focused review in the next weeks. Ed.
Thu, 10 Oct 2013
Hot on the heels of yesterday’s rumored defection of Luigi Dall’lgna‘s from Aprilia to Ducati comes this morning’s press release from Piaggio. “The Piaggio Group has accepted, with immediate effect, the resignation of Luigi Dall’Igna – wishing him of course all the best for the future.” Replacing Dall’lgna is Romano Albesiano. Albesiano joined the Piaggio Group in 2005 as Aprilia Product Development Manager and currently manages Piaggio’s Motorbike Technical Center.
Wed, 09 Oct 2013
Ducati has reportedly signed Aprilia Racing manager Gigi Dall’Igna to take control of its struggling MotoGP program. Neither Ducati Corse or Aprilia Racing have confirmed the reports, but several sources in the European motorsports press such as Motociclismo.it, not to mention a tweet from retired World Superbike Champion Max Biaggi, claim the deal is done. Dall’Igna has been an instrumental figure in Aprilia’s racing success since the manufacturer’s return to WSBK racing with the RSV4 in 2009, helping guide Biaggi to two championships and, pending the result of the 2013 season finale at Jerez, likely three manufacturers titles.
Mon, 07 Oct 2013
Tom Sykes snapped up a pair of wins at Magny-Cours, setting himself up in good position to capture his first World Superbike Championship at the season finale in Jerez in two weeks. The Kawasaki rider scored his series-leading eight and ninth victories of the season, giving him a commanding 37-point cushion over Eugene Laverty and 38 points ahead of Sylvain Guintoli. Sykes needs only score at least 13 points in total over the final two races at Jerez to secure the championship.
Mon, 30 Sep 2013
Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty each came away with a victory as the World Superbike Championship made its return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The first race featured two red flags, ironically caused by AMA Superbike regulars Danny Eslick and Roger Hayden, the two men with the most recent experience at the famed track. The second race was a much cleaner affair, with a dramatic finish, setting up the final two rounds of the championship.
Fri, 13 Sep 2013
International Motorcycling Federation officials have rejected an appeal from Aprilia and rider Sylvain Guintoli over the controversial finish to the second race of the Monza round of the 2013 World Superbike Championship. The official race finish for Race 2 at Monza stands, with Kawasaki‘s Tom Sykes in third place and Guintoli fourth. More importantly, Sykes hangs on to the 16 championship points he was awarded for the finish while Guintoli receives 13 for finishing fourth.