Whether this will be the last season of "real" Superbikes in World Superbike remains to be seen, but many of the competitors and teams in the championship have a much more urgent concern than the 2014 rules package: can anything catch the Aprilias?
It's never advisable to make sweeping generalizations or give voice to fears after the first race but the Aprilia's near outright domination of the Phillip Island eventdouble race wins and five of six places on the podium make one wonder if the motorcycle company based near Venice may be even more competitive in 2013 than they were in 2012.
Guintoli's RSV4 clocked in at 196mph in Superpole, whereas Checa's Ducatiwhich did indeed set the fastest lap in Superpolewas over seven mph down. Phillip Islandre-paved this yearis occasionally an anomaly on the schedule in terms of results but there were no hurricane winds or snow to upset the results this year.
Bolstering their position on the grid, Aprilia has instituted a fairly economical package for satellite teams. The base cost, with two engineers, is around $450,000 US for a leased Aprilia RSV4 Superbike; a price that does not include parts. In 2013 that is a very reasonable quote to go racing. It's not what their competitors want to hear, but no matter the rules package in 2014 expect more Aprilias lining up in 2014.