Gigi Dall'Igna is the head of Aprilia's worldwide racing efforts. With subjects raging from Aprilia's WSBK effort to the CRT project, Nicky Hayden and the pull-out of BMW from WSBK in my head I interviewed him at Laguna Seca.
Q I'll start with an easy question. What do you think of the new WSBK rules?
A The rules, at the end, is not so bad. For sure we have to come back a little bit with the technical development, because for sure the cost of the Superbike at the moment is too high. Above all, not for the manufacturers, but for a satellite team. So I think that we are going the right direction, so it's a reasonable balance from technical and costs.
Q What do you think of the new regime with Dorna running World Superbike?
A Dorna is probably one of the most important organizations on the sports events, so, you know, for sure, I think Dorna can help this championship to grow up, above all, on the TV side, TV coverage, because for sure, one of the main problems of the Superbike at the moment is the TV coverage.
Q One of the frequent examples of the reasons that the rules had to change is because they said Aprilia was using too many engines and "taking advantage" of the rules.
A No, I don't think so.
Q So Biaggi didn't use 42 engines or whatever in a season?
A This is stupid numbers. Absolutely stupid numbers. That means that probably we have to change the engine during the race. I think is not the case. [Laughing] Is not the case.
Q Generally, how many engines, then, were used?
A Normally around ten. Ten engines per year, per rider. The reason why we change so many engines is why we use the engine for all the satellite teams that we have. So maybe we have 700 kilometers with the factory riders. After that, we use that engine for maybe 1000 kilometers with the satellite team. But I think this is a real important for the championship, because the satellite team have the real factory engines, so is something good for the championship and for the show. Is not a problem.
Q Since we're being candid, it's been rumored since Laguna GP that Ducati is trying to hire you away to be their head of racing. Comment?
A You know, I have heard too many times this question. I don't want to reply. It's rumors. When I comment this gives the rumors life.
Q I know Claudio Domenicali respects you a great deal.
A For sure, Claudio is a real race man. He knows very well the motorcycle world. I think I did something in this world, and that's it.
Q MotoGP. Aprilia. What is the future?
A You know, I think that the MotoGP will come more important for Aprilia Racing in the future. We would like to develop the bike that we have at the moment. We are quite happy - not quite, we are really happy about the results that we gained, above all, during this year. I didn't expect honestly to reach these results at the beginning of the project.
So it's quite normal for us to develop the bike, because I think that there will be important development that we can introduce next year.
Q At some point, do you see going back with a full prototype, or are the bad days of the Cube still in your mind?
A No. Frankly speaking, the Cube is an old story, and a wrong story. So I don't think that it's better to think about the Cube.
Today? we'll do the best that the rules can permit. So, for sure, we have to going in that direction, so we will introduce some new parts during the next season, in the prototype direction, and probably the future could be the complete prototype package. But it's, you know, fluid ... we will see next year results.
Q Nicky Hayden? You hiring him or?
A You know, Nicky's probably the best rider on the market at the moment, and we are working to close an agreement with him. So for sure at the moment, we didn't sign anything, but we are talking, and I'm confident that we can, we can reach an agreement.
Q Did you give him the tour when he came?
A For sure. For sure. It's always a pleasure to show to everybody, Aprilia Racing, because I think we are not a lot of people, but we have real good facilities, we have real good mentality, we have, you know. Is something that someone like Nicky can understand very well, and can enjoy very well.
|"... BMW have not a great history in the motorcycle racing, and frankly speaking, this is something that you can expect."|
Q What is the relationship between Aprilia and Dorna-MotoGP now? When I last talked to you at Portimao some years ago, you were still a little angry about how Moto2 had happened and Aprilia were basically chased out of Grand Prix.
A You know, like the Cube, this is a real old story, you know. At the moment, the relationship from Aprilia Racing and Dorna is really, really good. Because I think that we have more or less the same target, to increase the show on the Superbike. I'm, at the moment, we have really great relationship with Dorna.
Q Ducati pulled their factory team from WSBK, BMW, are now pulling out. Scary times for World Superbike.
A Not really. Not really Ducati. Ducati work a lot to develop the bike. I think he did this year the, probably ten times the test that we did. So, you know. I don't think that Ducati is out from the Superbike. BMW for sure, but you know, BMW have not a great history in the motorcycle racing, and frankly speaking, this is something that you can expect.
Q When that happens, people worry that Aprilia might pull out too.
A You know, all the year, people worried about Aprilia. And we stay here. We gain result. We gain riders. Every time we make a step, maybe big, or short, but anyway, we, every year we make a step forward. And that's it. So. I would like that all the people worries about Aprilia, because I think the circumstances but we remain committed to WSBK.
Q. Off-the-wall question, as we say in America: Max Biaggi, with my friend Paolo Scalera, is writing a biography of his career. How do you think he will portray you in the book? Did you have a good relationship with Max?
A I won two World Championships in the past three years with him, so I think I have a really good relationship with him, but you know, at the end, it's a business, like always, so. I will read the book. [Laughing]
Q Racing in America?
A You know, I have some contacts, and is something that I would like to do. But it's a difficult time for everybody, also for the Americans racing is not the best, the best time. But you know, I try to do something. My job is to stay in contact with the people that can have racing with Aprilia. So, normally at the end of the year, I have to make some telephone call to the teams here, and the reverse. But it's difficult to tell you yes or not, because you know, talk is easy. At the end, the fact can be different.
Q So, next year?
A Yeah, we are working to do something next year, but I cannot promise you that for sure the next year we be here.