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THE 2015 MOTOGP SEASON STARTS IN QATAR

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THE 2015 MOTOGP SEASON STARTS IN QATARThe first Grand Prix of the year marks Aprilia's return to the top World Championship category

Losail (Qatar), 24 March 2015 - The night races at the Qatar Grand Prix will launch the 2015 MotoGP season and mark Aprilia's return to the top world championship motorcycling competition with Gresini Racing. This is a courageous choice, move up one year ahead of the originally announced schedule, driven by the desire to grow more quickly, accepting the challenge of the track.

The steps in the project include this first year dedicated entirely to development, even and especially in race conditions, before introducing a Full Factory configuration prototype bike in 2016.

This is an ambitious plan, but well within the ability of the designers, engineers and structure of Aprilia Racing at Noale, which boasts 54 world championship wreaths, 28 of which from 2006 to the present, after Aprilia joined the Piaggio Group. The Manufacturer from Noale also skilfully demonstrated its competitiveness in World Superbike, where it quickly became a genuine dominator, earning an impressive seven world titles in the last five years.

The two riders who will be accompanying development of the RS-GP are a part of Aprilia's victorious history: Italian Marco Melandri, already a World Champion on his Aprilia in 2002 (250 Class), MotoGP runner-up champion in 2005 and one of the stars of the World Superbike scene; and Alvaro Bautista, Spaniard, World Champion in 2006 in the 250 class, also on a bike from Noale, and busy in the MotoGP class for the last five years.

It is an exciting challenge which has been taken on thanks to partnership between Aprilia and Gresini Racing, a structure founded and led by two-time World Champion Fausto Gresini and one of the most skilled and successful teams in recent MotoGP history that boasts an extraordinary presence in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, where it has been a key player since 1997 without interruption, having won two world titles and taking home 40 race wins.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“With the Qatar round Aprilia's MotoGP adventure begins. We are well aware that we will be sizing ourselves up against the highest technical and sports level in motorcycling, but we are doing it confident that we have all the means to develop a successful project. Aprilia's sports history demonstrates this. The purpose of the upcoming season for us is to gather data and know-how on MotoGP specific technologies, to strengthen the work group at home and on the track and simultaneously it will allow us to design a prototype and put it on the track in 2016. The constant competition with our rivals, definitely fierce and difficult for us at the moment, will allow us to speed up our growth process in the category, as has already happened during the winter tests.”

FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“For Gresini Racing this will be season number 19 in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, but it is always very exciting when we finally get back on the track. For the first time we'll be coming to MotoGP as a ‘Factory’ team, proud to be taking on an exciting challenge alongside a glorious brand like Aprilia which has all the skill and know-how that this category demands. It will take time to develop our project, but I agree with Aprilia's decision to move their début up to compete with stronger rivals, even if that means that there may not be immediate results. We like this challenge and we also like our riders: Alvaro and Marco are highly skilled experts and their contribution will be essential, beginning with this first Grand Prix race where we will continue working hard, experimenting and testing, with the goal of growing and achieving a good level of competitiveness as quickly as possible.”

ALVARO BAUTISTA
“After the winter tests it's finally time to get back to racing! Every time a new season begins it is very exciting and in this case it's even more so because it is also the beginning of our challenge together with Aprilia. This first round actually represents the natural continuation of testing for us: in fact, our primary goal is to develop the bike, no matter what the results are on the track, and it's pointless to focus on those right now. The tests were important for identifying the basic technique to start with. We'll take on the Grand Prix resuming our hard work to keep growing and improving my sensations in the saddle. There is a lot of work to be done, but that doesn't frighten us. To the contrary, the whole team is very united and motivated to make progress. I like the Losail track and I obviously also hope to have fun this weekend!”

MARCO MELANDRI
“For me this weekend is the start of a new challenge: returning the MotoGP after several years of absence will not be a walk in the park and I am well aware that the first Grand Prix races will not be simple for me, but I am confident that I'll be able to make progress throughout the season until I find the right feeling to be fast. Unfortunately, besides the time needed to adapt to a completely new technical package compared to the one I was accustomed to, my winter tests were also hindered by physical problems. I had been taking antibiotics until three days ago because of a pesky flu and I still haven't fully recovered. But in any case I hope to be fit for the race weekend where I will give it 100% as always along with my team which is supporting me in the best possible way.”

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