Aren't they starting a bit late? As a [new] motorcycle racing fan who wants to see a great season (Speed Channel willing), I sincerely hope Suzuki and Aprilia can compete with Honda and Yamaha, but they're, what, two months behind in development? It may take them part of the way into the season to get the bike fully 'sorted'.
Also, I'm not familiar with Lucchi, but I know who Laconi is from World Superbike in 2001. He was good but not 'great'. I hope he or somebody else can do Aprilia's engineering justice. Honda+Rossi looks pretty hard to beat, and I'm sure Yamaha+Biaggi won't be far behindl.
Nice stirring description of the sound of the 'Cube', although being an Aprilia press release, of course it's a bit partisan.
Here's what I'd love to see from Motorcycle Online: a full preview of the 2002 MotoGP two/four stroke season. All the riders, their 'colors' or major sponsor (like factory -vs- privateer), very brief history and sort of the 'odds' of them winning, the brand of bike they will be riding and whether it's a 500cc or a four stroke, and a brief bit about the weight, power, and engine type.
What of: Ducati, Kawasaki, Drysdale, Sauber, Triumph, MuZ, Suzuki, Mondial, MV Agusta, and Baindl?
You're right, Aprilia seem a bit behind on the development so far since Honda for example has been testing the 4-stroke for about a month. As for Laconi he is a former Grand Prix winner so I would expect good (maybe not the championship) things from him in about half a season when the bike is up to speed. I was thinking about what someone said in an earlier post about if Rossi went to Aprilia. That would be amazing to see him win on that bike. I'm usually not aroused by machines but that is the exception. And say what you want about Valentino, he's still a kick-ass rider and the best thing to happen to the sport in years.
I agree with your comments about the press release. Albeit, all of the manufacturers are doing the same thing. Pretty much everything out there right now about the 4-stroke GP machines is what's fed to us by the factories.
Actually, 2001 was Regis' first year on the Aprilia RSV. Before that, I believe he rode a Red Bull Yamaha 500GP bike. If I recall correctly, he doesn't have a great deal of time in the saddle of 4-stroke bikes. So, for him to have done as well as he did in 2001 in a venue that he wasn't terribly familiar with, is a great testament to his adaptability and skill. He's young, and experienced enough in GP to hopefully be able to mesh his experience with the new tech of the 4-strokes. I'm really glad to see a builder like Aprilia take this step. This machine should certainly be a better direction than that ill-begotten 400 twin!
I wonder if Honda are going to draw a line in the sand and lose Rossi the same way they lost McGrath in Supercross. I seems there are many similarities. I hope they do, because it would be great to Rossi sticking his neck out to get this bike in front of the Honda and Yamaha 4 strokes. Can't wait for the season to start.
Laconi had only ridden on two or three tracks on the WSB Calendar, and he did well on them, and would have won the last two races had Troy Bayliss not Highsided and taken him out the first race. He was so happy he was doing well and he ran over to Troy to make sure he was ok and hugged him. Sounds like a great guy to me. He won the next race right after that. That's a great feat considering the competition, and it was his first visit there on a superbike. When he was on dunlops in Gps, he was one of the fastest Yamaha guys, and the switch to Michelin slowed him down. Give him a chance.
Sheesh, you guys really don't want Honda winning MotoGP this year....Anyway, what a beautiful marraige of superb technology and engineering to a gorgeous package. That is racing--combing perfect function while maintaining absolute beauty. If anyone finds a sound byte please post.