Executives from Aprilia and its holding company, Piaggio, both have been on record this fall about the manufacturer's intent to field a factory team in MotoGP by 2016. In the meantime, the Italian manufacturer is struggling to keep its hold in the premier class for 2014.
The arrival of "customer" prototypes has decimated Aprilia's ART Claiming Rules Team project in MotoGP. The experienced Aspar team dominated the CRT class in 2012 and 2013 with its ART bikes, but Aspar has switched to "customer" Honda RCV1000RR for next season.
Cardion AB and rider Karel Abraham also are ditching ART machinery for a "customer" Honda, leaving just minnows Paul Bird Motorsport in the Aprilia fold for next season. But reports suggest that PBM probably will reduce its MotoGP team to one bike for Michael Laverty and may ditch the championship and instead focus on the British Superbike Championship if it can't reach favorable terms with Aprilia.
New Aprilia Racing boss Romano Albesiano confirmed last week to European media he is negotiating a MotoGP deal with Ioda Racing and WSBK veteran Leon Camier for MotoGP next season.
This lack of depth and quality in ART teams next season appears to further validate rumors that Aprilia wants to go MotoGP racing on a tight budget, trying to compete with the big checkbooks of Yamaha, Honda and Ducati with pocket change. That tight pecuniary sense reportedly led the highly regarded Gigi Dall'Igna to leave this fall as head of Aprilia Racing for a similar role at Ducati.