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Aprilia ART, prototype, CRT or Super Superbike?
Aprilia ART, prototype, CRT or Super Superbike?

Jorge Martínez "Aspar" team announced the livery that your MotoGP Aprilias ART will wear in the next season of the premier category. With Power Electronics as main sponsor it was clear that they would abandon the red dominance of Mapfre or the yellow of the famous pages in favor of blue. The chosen design has hit the nail on the head, recalling the success of another Aprilia, Álvaro Bautista's in 125cc. On the other hand, when Dorna presented the package of measures that would allow the entry of the so-called CRTs, I feared that MotoGP was getting dangerously close to the terrain of Superbikes, to the terrain of series production. Reflecting a little, I understood that, even if it were so, the ones that had been invading the prototypes had been the derivatives championship, word, by the way, and little could be used on your grill. With the tranquility and certainty of knowing that the waters would return to their channels, separately, one waited for the arrival of the CRTs like May water to begin to see their true potential.

Let's recap, basically A CRT is a team-owned motorcycle built with a series-derived engine and prototype chassis.. Its development would be in the hands of the team, with much less budget than a factory. Take the example of Fausto Gresini's team; buys the Honda CBR1000RR engine and uses FTR to bring the chassis to fruition. In this way, the rental of motorcycles by the brands to the teams is avoided. But we come to the case Aprilia. Noale's have sold the "complete pack", engine and chassis prototype to those who have requested it. The company obviously has more resources and knowledge of its engine than FTR, Suter or Kalex can have. The concern returned when we saw the first Aprilias ART rolling and continues now that they are almost ready.

Because what is a prototype chassis for the organization? Simply the one that is not produced in series. That is to say, which Aprilia could be using a chassis traced to the original but slightly modified and be complying with the regulations. And here I will save the words and I will leave you two photos. On the one hand you have Eugene Laverty's Aprilia RSV4 Factory. On the other, the Aprilia ART by Aleix Espargaró. Focused on the rack, does anyone want to play seven differences?

Aprilia RSV4 - ART comparison

We see that, although they are not exactly the same, the resemblance is remarkable. If it is and continues like this, everything seems to indicate that it will, we would be facing a superbike with an engine prepared well above the limits of SBK, Bridgestone tires and carbon discs, as Dennis Noyes said, a Super Superbike. Obviously, the idea has not been liked by a large part of the paddock, who point out that the strategy of Italians have taken advantage of a lame regulation to enjoy the benefits of being CRT - six engines and three more liters of fuel - but with the racing department actively involved in the project. Was this the spirit of the new subcategory? Personally, I think not, it was about cutting costs by letting the teams put the art, the knowledge and the good work to bring their machine to fruition, not about giving access to Biaggi's motorcycle on steroids. In fact, when Aleix was asked about ART in Motorcycling, he answered:

James Ellison with ART

However, this could also be the way forward in the not too distant future if the world economy continues to decline. Of course, it would need the vigilance and control of Dorna so as not to fall, again, in the futuristic prices - by the number of figures - of the motorcycles that we have had in 125 or 250.

CRT competition, just around the corner

The evolution of CRTs is everyone's hope and a demonstrable fact. Thanks to the participation of pilots with plenty and proven talent such as Colin Edwards or Randy de puniet these machines can be placed, in a short time, giving scares to the most lagging MotoGP. In fact, I would like to underline the time that the French rider achieved in February testing in Jerez. A 1’40.9, rolling in addition on a regular basis. In 2010, Dani Pedrosa qualified first on the grid with a time of 1'39.2 while the last one, Mika Kalio, could not go down 1'40.8. As we can see, in a circuit where the gross power of the prototype is not unleashed as in Sepang, the duo of pilot with skills and CRT on the right track turns out to be quite competitive.

Let's also take into account the little time they have had for the set-up. We add the wide margin for improvement. Now let's add in those six extra engines. Three more liters of fuel … and we will realize that it is possible that mid-season drivers like Colin or Randy may be looking to tickle a clueless prototype. We can see them at all together from March 19 to 25 in the next IRTA tests in Jerez. The die is cast.

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