Aprilia GP Team Launch

Calvin Kim
by Calvin Kim
Noale - Tuesday 20 March 2001 -- A golden lion on a traditional black background is the new aggressive look of the MS Aprilia 2001 Racing Team. In the heart of Aprilia's Racing Division, in front of the garages where the bikes for the World championship rounds are being prepared, near the powerful computers where frames, engines and electronic systems are designed, the wild, overbearing beauty of three real lions matches technology with instinct, courage and planning.

The lions roar for Aprilia, which wants to race and win in the 125 and250 cc World Grand Prix racing championship that kicks off on April 8 at Suzuka, Japan...

100 or so journalists and invited guests were present to witness theline-up of the internal factory Aprilia squadron, which will be racingwith official Rsw 250 bikes.

Team MS Aprilia Racing will be made up of three riders: Marco Melandrifrom Italy, Klaus Noehles from Germany and Tetsuya Harada from Japan,while Italian Marcellino Lucchi will continue as test-rider.

The Aprilia launch was a spectacular affair with the bikes in thelion-cage, while for the first time ever in circus history a lionessjumped over a bike.

Aprilia President Ivano Beggio was excited and happy over the launch,which was held right in the heart of Aprilia's racing territory.

"This is the first time that we have organised a GP launch at home,"declared Ivano Beggio. "It is a confirmation of the strength of thecommitment of Aprilia and the Racing Division that hosted the pressconference today. We have made massive investments this year, not onlybecause we have always believed in racing and because Aprilia was bornfor racing, but also because the success of our company derives from the image obtained at circuits throughout the world. For sure racing is the most exciting way of transmitting our passion for motorcycling. The investments made in the 500 GP class have been doubled for thefour-stroke GP1 project. It is our desire to be immediately competitive when the other major constructors accept the four-stroke GP challenge."

"This is going to be an important season for me," added Marco Melandriat the launch. "My learning period in 250, which saw me in a little bit of difficulty in the early part of the championship, can now beconsidered over. I have changed my approach with the bike and haveworked like mad over the winter. Now the feeling with the bike isperfect and after the recent tests I must say that I am ready to tackle the season with great determination."

"After the important experience in 500 GP I am happy to return to 250 on a factory bike," declared Japanese rider Tetsuya Harada, who won the quarter-litre category in 1993. "I am back to win and this Aprilia will allow me to achieve my objective."

"I am honoured to be part of the factory Aprilia team after just twoyears in the world championship," commented Klaus Noehles. "It is a true honour and really exciting. I will do everything possible to repay the faith shown in me by the Noale firm and its engineers. This will be an important year and I want to be a part of it."

"I hope to race in a few Grands Prix during the 2001 season," said 44year-old Marcello Lucchi, one of the quickest guys around as well as one of the best testers in the world. "Even though my job is to provide the Racing Division engineers with feedback on the evolution bikes from the track, I really hope I will be able to race with my younger team-mates. I will be present at Jerez and Mugello where I will be trying to cause them a lot of trouble!"

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