Feb 7, 2013
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Eugene Laverty (58) and Sylvain Guintoli (50).
SUPERBIKE: APRILIA READY FOR THE 2013 SEASON AS WORLD CHAMPION
Aprilia officially launched its fifth SBK season today in Milan: an outstanding performer in the last 4 race seasons, with 4 world championship titles
Northern Ireland rider Eugene Laverty, on the Aprilia RSV4 for the second year, to be flanked by Aprilia's new acquisition, 30-year-old French rider Sylvain Guintoli
An extraordinary track-record: 51 world title victories in twenty years. The medal board of the Piaggio Group is even more impressive, with its brands winning a total of 101 world titles, making the Group the most successful European and Western motorcycle manufacturer ever
Milan, 7 February 2013 51 world titles, reigning world champion in Superbike racing, where it scored a double victory in the 2012 season winning both the Rider and the Manufacturer world crowns: Aprilia officially presented the 2013 season today in Milan.
For the world SBK championship, Aprilia is fielding the flagship bike in its range, the innovative four-cylinder RSV4, with its exclusive narrow-angle V4 engine. A bike that has been generous to the Italian team, immediately winning its debut race in 2009 and conquering four world titles (two double rider-manufacturer victories) in 2010 and 2012 with Max Biaggi in the saddle.
The arrival of the fast expert French rider Sylvain Guintoli, to flank Eugene Laverty, who has been confirmed, completes a team that is otherwise unchanged, under the orders of Technical and Race Manager Luigi Dall'Igna.
The RSV4's recent victories have added to the lustre of an outstanding record: in its short history, Aprilia has won an impressive 51 world titles: 38 in the Grand Prix road racing championship (where it also holds a record of 294 GP race victories), 4 in the Superbike and 9 in off-road events. Including the Piaggio Group, of which Aprilia is part, the total score of championship wins rises to 101, a result that places the Group in the Olympus of the all-time most successful constructors.
"The importance of Superbike in our brand's recent history has been strengthened by the renewed commitment of the official Team, which, on the strength of four world championship victories in the last three seasons, comes to the starting grid with a sole objective, to add to Aprilia's extraordinary track record," said Leo Francesco Mercanti, AD of Aprilia Racing. "The level of this competition, seen last year in a championship fought for up to the last bend, makes every success even more important and attests to the Piaggio Group's commitment to developing road bikes delivering top-level performance and technology. The innovations and technical solutions we are bringing to the race track will then be made available to motorbike devotees. And we are bringing them to the track to win."
Luigi Dall'Igna, the Aprilia Racing Technical and Race manager, said: "We are getting ready for the fifth season of our official participation in the World Superbike, a championship that absolutely reflects the Aprilia philosophy because it involves bikes based on a factory product. Both Eugene Laverty, who is well acquainted with the RSV4, and our new entry Sylvain Guintoli have the potential to achieve the ambitious results established by Aprilia tradition and by our status as current champions.
The RSV4 was just extraordinary in the 2012 season: all the riders who raced it, not just Max Biaggi, but Laverty and Davies too, rode it to victory. This season's first test a few days ago in Jerez confirmed our expectations. A long tough season lies ahead, but we are fully prepared and motivated."
Eugene Laverty, 26, from Northern Ireland, does not hide his ambitions: "With a season's experience behind me, I can certainly aim at important results. I prepared well over the winter and during the first tests of the season I worked really hard together with the Team on the development of the RSV4. It's a bit soon to start talking about goals and rankings, but I have to admit that my intention is to win the World Superbike."
Sylvain Guintoli, 30, from France, is making his debut on the world champion bike: "It's an honour to ride the world champion bike, for me this is the most important occasion of my racing career. A lot of people have asked me if I feel under a lot of pressure, but the fact that I want to do well and prove my worth in the World Superbike is far greater than any tension. What surprised me most about the RSV4 is that it felt immediately natural to ride. Straightaway I felt "at home", despite having ridden bikes with very different features in the past. The RSV4 is fast, but more important it offers all the adjustments to enable it to be adapted to my riding style."
APRILIA RACING TEAM 2013 EUGENE LAVERTY
For the second year in a row Eugene Laverty will kick off the World Superbike Championship astride the number 58 official Aprilia RSV4.
The twenty-six year old rider from Northern Ireland, born in Toomebridge on June 3rd 1986, earned his first win with Aprilia in 2012 at Portimao, in addition to 5 podiums which took him to seventh place in the season's final rider standings, also contributing to Aprilia taking the Manufacturer World Title.
In 2009 and 2010 Laverty took second place in the Supersport 600 World Championship before becoming WSBK "rookie of the season" in 2011.
You finished off last year's season with a positive trend, even taking your first win on the RSV4. 2013 will be a very important year for you.
With a season's experience under my belt I will certainly be aiming for important results. I've trained well over the winter and in the first tests of the season I worked quite a bit with the team continuing development of the RSV4. It's still early to talk about goals and standings, but I'll make no secret of the fact that my intention is to win World Superbike.
Do you think that the Laverty-Aprilia package still has room for improvement?
During the tests at Jerez we made some huge progress in terms of the feeling with the front end and that's quite important when you consider my riding style. Now I'm able to push to the limit and maintain a high level of confidence even over several laps. Obviously improvement is not optional. In this sport if you snooze you lose, but I think I can say I'm satisfied with the technical situation. Before the races in Australia we'll have two testing sessions where we'll iron out the final details and make some definitive choices for the beginning of the season.
Who do you think your rivals will be for the 2013 World Superbike title?
Most certainly the riders who finished last season in the top 5. Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes proved to be very fast in the tests and they have the support of two very competitive teams. I also expect to see Carlos Checa battling for victory, maybe a few races into the season since he'll be on a new bike this year.
This year you'll be sharing the garage with a new team mate. What do you think of Sylvain Guintoli?
Sylvain is a fast lad. I'm sure he'll do well. He found a good feeling on the RSV4 straight away and put in some good times during the tests. I'm sure we'll have fun this year and I think that having a fast garage mate will be good incentive for me and the entire team. Besides, Sylvain has a lot of experience on these bikes so he'll be able to contribute to the development of the RSV4.
APRILIA RACING TEAM 2013 SYLVAIN GUINTOLI
Sylvain Guintoli, a 30 year-old Frenchman, will ride alongside Eugene Laverty in the 2013 World Superbike Championship astride an official Aprilia RSV4, the bike that won the Manufacturer World Title last season and took Max Biaggi to victory in the Rider Championship.
Guintoli, a rider with a great deal of experience who races with the number 50 on his fairing, was born in MontÃ©limar in June 1982. He raced with Aprilia in the 250 class of the World Motorcycle GP Championship from 2001 to 2006. He also boasts two seasons in MotoGP (2007 and 2008). He made his WSBK dÃ©but in the last race of the 2009 season on the Portuguese track at Portimao and in his last three years he has taken a total of ten podiums with three victories and a pole position, always finishing the season in the top ten rider standings.
Sylvain, you'll be astride an official Aprilia RSV4 in 2013: how will you tackle this new, important experience?
Getting on the world champion bike is an honour for me. I feel like this is the most important opportunity in my career as a rider. Many people have asked me if I feel any particular pressure, but actually my desire to do well and show what I can do in World Superbike exceeds any other type of stress!
You have already had the chance to "get a taste" of your new bike. What do you think?
The thing that surprised me the most was the immediate natural feeling of the ride. Both in terms of my position in the saddle and my feeling on the bike, I immediately felt "at home", despite the fact that I've ridden bikes with very different characteristics in the past. The RSV4 is fast, but the most important thing is that it has adjustments which allow you to adapt it to your style and needs. Although only the first race will truly show my skills on the playing field, being fast in the tests is certainly a good place to start.
In the garage you are working with a highly experienced mechanic like Aligi and with a team which has won 4 world championships in the last three years. How was your first experience with the new team?
Honestly it couldn't have been better. Aprilia has given me a top notch team. Each member knows what to do without having to be told. For a rider it is very reassuring to see efficiency and skill in the garage because it gives you the peace of mind to focus on riding. And Aligi is a crew chief who can "translate" every sensation I have into technical changes. After working with this team I can see why they win so much!
For a rider this is always a difficult question: what are your expectations for the 2013 season?
It's difficult to make predictions and I say that thinking particularly about last season, which came down to the last race and was won by just one half point. I intend to do well. In 2012 I won three races and my first goal is to break that personal best record. As for the rest... ask me again in a few months.