The riders that have made their mark on modern motor cycling alongside the young up-and-coming: this is how the first decade of the 21st Century for the Aprilia Team can be summarised. A start to the millennium studded with successes , especially in the 125 and 250 classes, for the Noale-based manufacturer already basking in the triumphs of the 90’s, the golden age of the Italian brand.
Jorge Lorenzo. A young prodigy able to assert himself as an out of the ordinary rider right from the very start. Jorge Lorenzo, from Palma de Mallorca, began racing in the 125cc class in 2002, on the very day of his 15th birthday. But it was in the 250cc class that he really made a name for himself in the saddle of an Aprilia RSW-250. Moving on to the 2006 season: at the end of that season, made up of 8 victories and 10 pole positions, Lorenzo graduated as World Champion for the first time ever in his career. He then went on to repeat the feat again in 2007 with no less than 9 victories, still with the Fortuna Aprilia Team. Two seasons of Aprilia dominance in the 250cc class, also thanks to one of the best riders of the past two decades and winner of 5 world titles to date.
Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli. Three Italian riders who, each with his own particular style, have left their indelible mark riding a Noale-made motorcycle. Dovizioso, now racing in the MotoGP class, was originally discovered by none other than Aprilia, who first set their sights on him at the end of the 90’s: in 2001 the rider from Forlimpopoli won the European High-speed Championship and made his debut in the world motorcycle championship in the 125cc class. Ravenna native Marco Melandri was signed up by Aprilia in 2000 to race in the 250cc class and never was a better choice made: after a season racing alongside Tetsuya Harada, Melandri became World Champion in 2002. This title, won in the saddle of the RSV 250, remains the only one of Melandri’s career to date. There is also another Emilia-Romagna native who managed to steal the hearts of motorcycling fanatics thanks to Aprilia: he is Marco Simoncelli, Noale factory team rider from 2002 to 2005. However, it was only in the 2008 season that “Sic” became World Champion: following the takeover of Aprilia by the Piaggio Group, that season “his” RSA 250 raced bearing the Gilera name.
Poggiali and others. The guy from San Marino wearing number 54: these are the trademarks of Manuel Poggiali, winner of the 2003 World Championship in the 250cc class with the MS Aprilia Team. But the Noale-based manufacturer’s “favourite hunting ground” since 2000 has been and remains the 125cc class: there have been various winners to date, from Arnaud Vincent to Gabor Talmacsi, through to current MotoGp racer and Aprilia Racing standard-bearer Alvaro Bautista.