Aprilia is preparing for a return to the top rally raids in 2024: an ambitious project that will be overseen by Aprilia Racing, thereby repeating the successful experience of Aprilia’s previous participation in Dakar, 2010-2012.
The Noale racing division returns to its true love, the world of off-road racing that marked Aprilia’s début in the world of national and international competitions, as it develops the new Aprilia Tuareg 660, a bike whose very name underscores its calling and destiny.
The Aprilia Tuareg project will be overseen by Jacopo Cerutti, 1989, who brings his own extensive experience to Aprilia Racing development: the rider from Como has multiple Italian Motorally wins to his name, as well as bringing home four Italian and one European Enduro titles and having participated in Dakar six times already. He will be backed by Francesco Montanari, a national-level Enduro rider who achieved a great rookie performance at the Tricolore Motorally last year.
Massimo Rivola – Aprilia Racing CEO
“With its ‘Back to Africa’ project Aprilia Racing is returning to the world of off-road racing, to the races that forged the division. We want to keep growing in the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing and in on-track races. We want to discover new talent through our SP 250 Championship and the RS 660 Trophy, but we are also embarking on a completely new project with the extraordinary Aprilia Tuareg. It’s an additional sign of development for a racing division that has grown significantly over the past years achieving results never before seen by Aprilia”.
Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Technical Director
“We are picking up the baton from a history of great successes. Aprilia is the only Italian brand to have won a stage of the Dakar Rally, and in 2010 we took the last podium in the overall ranking. These are just the first steps in a completely new project, and the purpose of the 2023 season will be to start us on the path that will take us back to the great desert races, but one thing is certain, the bike will be forged from the values that have always marked Aprilia’s racing endeavours, i.e. innovation in the service of performance”.
“I’m very happy to be a part of this project, to work with a brand that’s 100% Italian and that has such a great history in sports is a source of great pride. This will be a new challenge for me, coming from experience with the Enduro 450. I will be riding a twin with enormous potential and will have a key role to play in development. It’s an exceptional opportunity for a rider, and I can’t wait to start”.
The racing version of the new Aprilia Tuareg 660 will be developed by Aprilia Racing with technical input from GCorse (brother’s Gianfranco and Vittoriano Guareschi), who already worked on the Tuareg taking part in the Italian Motorally Championship over the course of 2022. Involvement in the Tricolore Motorally will continue in 2023, a season that will be entirely focused on developing a project that has shown enormous potential right from the start. The starting line will feature two Tuareg 660s entrusted to Cerutti and Montanari.
Alongside Aprilia Racing’s Tuareg project, Aprilia will also be present at the venues of the 2023 Italian Motorally to provide support for all those riding a Tuareg 660 in the new GPX “entry level” category, which was specifically created to make the Championship more accessible.
Aprilia remains true to its mission of introducing enthusiasts to the world of motorcycles, an objective it has been pursuing for years with the Italian FMI Aprilia Sport Production Championship and the Aprilia RS 660 Trophy.
Aprilia Racing, a legend forged from off-road races
Off-road races marked Aprilia’s début in the world of racing, which is no surprise for a brand that had already revealed its off-roading soul with early models like the Scarabeo (produced in the ’70s). The first racing motorcycle manufactured in 1974 in Noale was a 125cc cross. The brand earned its first titles in the 125cc and 250cc categories in 1977. In 1978 it stepped onto the podium and into the limelight of Motocross Championships.
Aprilia Racing made its foray into the adventurous world of the Motorcycle World Championship in 1985, but would earn its first championship title in 1992. The world of off-road racing provided another seven world championship titles with the twin-cylinder SXV 450 and 550 taking home three Supermoto Championship titles in the Rider category and four in the Manufacturer category from 2004 to 2011.
After its first epic appearance in the Paris-Dakar with the Tuareg in 1989, Aprilia returned to the great desert race in 2010 with a revolutionary RXV Rally 450 twin that would participate in three consecutive editions of the Dakar from 2010 to 2012. The spectacular Rally immediately earned three stage victories and took third place overall in 2010, narrowly missing the glorious objective of a rookie triumph. Aprilia remains the only Italian manufacturer to have won a stage at the Dakar, in 2012.