Due to replace the two-stroke 250cc Grand Prix World Championship in 2010, Moto2 will feature bikes with four-stroke 600cc Honda engines installed in prototype chassis. According to the Piaggio Group, the spec Honda engines do not fit with Aprilia’s image.
“In the Group’s view, the technological and racing characteristics of the Moto2 Championship are not such as to make participation in this type of race of strategic interest for Aprilia,” reads the statement from the Piaggio Group. “The Group believes, therefore, that involvement in races where all competitors must necessarily use the engine technology of a rival constructor would serve no purpose and would be detrimental to its image as a leading Italian and European motorcycle manufacturer, with 43 world speed and off-road racing titles.”
Aprilia motorcycles saturated the 2009 250cc Grand Prix class, with 18 of the 29 racers that earned championship points riding Aprilia machines. Aprilia riders comprised of six of the top ten spots in the final rider standings. The second most popular manufacturer on the 250cc grid was Honda with eight riders including 2009 Champion Hiroshi Aoyama.
Aprilia will still have a presence in the 125cc Grand Prix class. Julian Simon won the 2009 championship for the Mapfre Aspar team, leading a group of five Aprilia riders in the top seven spots in the final standings.
Mapfre Aspar announced Nov. 16 it would compete in Moto2 on Aprilia machines with Simon and 2008 125cc Grand Prix Champion Mike Di Meglio. The Piaggio Group’s decision now leaves the team searching for a new chassis supplier. Simon and Di Meglio took part in a Nov. 19 test in Valencia, Spain on a motorcycle loaned from the BQR Honda team.
Other prospective Moto2 teams that were planning to race Aprilia machines include Ajo Motorsport, Cardion AB and Speedup Aprilia.
The Piaggio Group’s decision will free up some money that may be diverted to Aprilia’s World Superbike racing efforts.