Controversy has hit Aprilia after Max Biaggi took second place in the Superpole shoot out.
It happened early this morning during the Superpole when Alstare Suzuki owner and team manager, Jean Francois Batta told Italian network La7 that: “Everyone knows that the RSV4 is a prototype and shouldn’t be racing here in SBK. After the race I’m going to the technical commission and lodge a complaint.”
What exactly is in RSV4 that made Batta want to lodge a complaint? According to paddock gossip the Alstare techs seem to have had a tiny peek at Aprilia’s fuel system and saw something that did not convince them. Fuel systems according to Superbike regulations have to be identical to the road bike version.
Since Aprilia’s return to the series, several teams have quietly expressed concern regarding Aprilia’s new superbike, deeming it not yet a true production bike. Ducati’s Davide Tardozzi seems to be one of those most worried but has yet to openly admit it as Batta did. When Aprilia wanted to continue testing at Phillip Island also on Saturday and Sunday last week, Tardozzi came up with : “Aprilia is investing a huge amount of money on its bike and is capable of winning the title in their debut year and that everyone should think of the current economic situation and that the teams should all sit at a table and discuss how to stop escalating costs”.
Obviously this situation also includes BMW’s S1000RR but since Corser and Xaus did not exactly shine and beat the competition during the past tests and the superpole, open critisism has been low keyed.
Just last Friday evening the FIM presented the list of superbikes to be homologated for 2009, which naturally also includes Aprilia and BMW and certified that by January 30, Aprilia has to produce 250 bikes since they have previously competed in the series and BMW only 125 since they are newcomers to SBK racing.
If Biaggi should win tomorrow, you can bet that you’ll be hearing more about the differences between prototypes and production bikes than how wonderful the Superbike Championship is with 7 different manufacturers.