Sporty – The Aprilia RSV4 Factory takes the lion’s share! – Biaggi and Nakano have no excuse not to shine in WSBK!

The Aprilia RSV4 Factory takes the lion’s share !

Sporty - The Aprilia RSV4 Factory takes the lion's share! - Biaggi and Nakano have no excuse not to shine in WSBK!

Beautiful to die for, equipped with the best components and an incredible V4, the new Aprilia RSV4 Factory is the scathing revenge of the Lion of Noale in Hypersports. Sensitive souls abstain: it is a barely civilized race animal… Test !

Biaggi and Nakano have no excuse not to shine in WSBK !

Reassured by this less sharp and exclusive behavior that the "100% Racing" orientation left feared, it is now time to switch to "Sport" mode to let the ritual cavalry express themselves fully in the laps !

Restrained on the first three reports, the V4 however changes partition when taking again the track: the engine brake is more present, the response to the throttle more instantaneous – a bit too much – and especially the flight from 10 000 rev / min is quick to put the steering damper into action! Superbly filled from the mid-revs, the mill of the RSV4 Factory catapults you without violence from one curve to another in a roar to clear a Shar Pei !

On the short straight line from the pits (335 m), the second hangs 180 km / h before the cutoff and the passage of the third stealthily brings the crew to a good 200 km / h, before releasing the throttle and braking slightly to dive with breathtaking speed and confidence in the first right turn !

Competing in agility with a Honda CBR 1000 RR – the benchmark with its featherweight of 199 kg fully loaded – the Aprilia is much more demonstrative than a Japanese four-cylinder, even if without direct comparison it is difficult to determine if its engine is really more efficient: the sound and the racing atmosphere are so exhilarating that they can considerably affect the feeling !

The bike is also based on a racing machine chassis: rigid and rich in information feedback, this allows entry into a curve beyond the grave, aided in this by a Brembo set with perfect feeling and awesome power. Caught with full hand, the fully radial device and monobloc calipers – the same as on the 1198S and RC8R – would undoubtedly dig new holes in the already quite damaged asphalt of the Alès route. !

One finger is enough in most cases, even around the back hairpin where you go from 210 km / h in 3rd to 30 km / h in 1st! The opportunity to apply a little discreet anti-dribble clutch when it is put into action: a slight jerk in the left lever is felt and especially the V4 seems to keep turns, while the throttle is cut. After some time, the phenomenon is quickly assimilated and the pilot can concentrate on a rear axle that the device has difficulty in keeping completely in line during the sudden change to first gear, between 5 and 7000 rpm. !

However, while on many motorcycles this "sweeping" of the rear would cause a rapid loss of confidence – even a quick heap for the most optimistic! -, the qualities of the aluminum frame of the RSV4 are such that the bike is in no way affected by the phenomenon: the planned trajectory is reached in a flash – much more easily than with an R1 or a GSX-R – and the fork Ohlins absorbs the huge holes in the rope point with complete relaxation, while the knee is on the ground…

Thanks to the clamping of the first reports, the exit of the pin can be done with a generous go-around. A light pressure on the soft and precise gearbox allows the second to pass on the fly, before plunging into a left on an incline: serenely, the Aprilia swallows the difficulties with the mastery of a real racing prototype, well helped by its powerful and smooth engine that responds to all speeds, always with enthusiasm but never with violence.

The brand’s managers have been telling us this for months, but the result exceeds our expectations: the V4 is quite simply a success! However, must of must, if the Aprilia mechanics are similar to a real gem – yes yes, no less! -, its case would not mismatch in a luxury jewelry: the chassis of the RSV4 is a feast for the senses and offers possibilities almost unknown until then on a production motorcycle !

To try to use it a little more, a last pit stop and a switch to "Track" mode – after having struggled to find a neutral point, too close to the first and the second – will brighten up our last sessions of tests: from the start, the engine becomes more aggressive and if the passage to high speeds of the second – and even of the three! – sometimes triggers unwanted wheelies in "Sport" mode, the phenomenon is much more marked now that Noale’s lion can roar fully !

The thrust of the V4 at low speeds then requires a certain circumspection, as does the engine brake which must be taken care of when entering a curve! Despite a swinging arm as beautiful as it is efficient, traction can be compromised by the health of the mill which pulls with unusual force at the slightest rotation of the throttle! Both the circuit and the bike seem different, as if we were discovering them both despite the six 20-minute sessions already spent together….

If the behavior when entering a curve is quite similar – except for the more present engine braking and the higher arrival speeds! -, the throttle response lacks progressiveness and turns out to be almost brutal: maintaining the thread of gas up to the string is more delicate and the power more present from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm tends to push you towards it. The outside of the turn … Fortunately, correcting its full-angle trajectory will not disturb the good balance of the bike, although the maneuver still requires a little skill !

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