The thoughts of those who created RSV4 R.
Leo Francesco Mercanti – Head of Product Development and Racing for the Piaggio Group.
Aprilia RSV4 R is the result of a project developed with the precise aim of redefining the parameters of a sporty bike. It's the utmost expression of the Aprilia culture: Races, Passion and Technical innovation. After astonishing the entire world of enthusiasts by demonstrating the extraordinary competitiveness of the RSV4 right from the start, Aprilia's launch of the " R " version will take it back to the top of the supersports market. RSV4 R is an on-the-road racing bike that offers everyone the fantastic mix of power and dynamic equilibrium typical of the most sophisticated competitive vehicles. RSV4 R is powerful, but accessible and easy to use, combining record power and weight levels with grace of handling, power delivery and electronics to guarantee the best overall performance. Today's level of technology is such that forward leaps are more and more difficult.
With the RSV4 project, Aprilia has accepted the challenge: the bike took shape on a blank piece of paper, without any influences or heritage from existing models. We merely asked ourselves what the ideal sports bike should be like, and then we created it. Choosing a unique engine configuration, the V4, just because it's the best choice when you want to maintain that equilibrium that everyone recognises in our sports bikes. We wanted it to be small, compact and lightweight. It was a real challenge, but now we can see the tangible result of what we imagined, with its aggressive design and essential lines, that's the best reward for all our efforts, without compromises. Aprilia RSV4 R is a real racing Aprilia, that only the experience of 35 world speed titles can help you to create. If the RSV4 R is good for Max Biaggi, it's good for you as well!!
Stefano Sterpone – Piaggio Group EMEA Sales Manager
The Aprilia RSV4 R is a new challenge that we are enthusiastically bringing to the market, and we are confident that it will meet with approval of both our Dealer partners and our Customers. The performance achieved since the introduction of the Superbike RSV4 Factory to the market has been very good, and the sales volumes reached up until today have been even higher than our best expectations. I am confident that this success will continue also with the new “street” version designed for the true experts and fans of Italian supersport bikes. I say that also because today Aprilia can rely on a strong, specialised and particularly motivated Network that has been awaiting for a long time an Italian product whose quality exceeds that of our competitors’ product and which is able to arouse enthusiasm on the track as well as on the road. Our commitment is therefore to turn the success achieved by this motorcycle on the track into a commercial success and a daily thrill for our Aprilia Customers.
Romano Albesiano – Head of Bike Design and Development for the Piaggio Group.
The RSV4 mission was well-defined from the word go: to be the world's fastest sports bike both on the track and on the road. This was true for the Factory version, and is still the case for the R version, too. If we had the advantage, for the Factory version, of "arms" absolutely out of the ordinary in terms of vehicle equipment, it's on the R that the positive basic features of the RSV4 project really emerge in all their glory, to the extent that we've gone well beyond the performance levels of our best competitors. The riding pleasure and feeling of overall equilibrium are sensations that every rider should experience. And even in comparison with the Factory, the difference in terms of lap times is minimal, or sometimes inexistent. It's worth remembering that various possible engine configurations were taken into consideration when the project was first set up: 3 in line, 4 in line, V4 with 90° cylinder banks, and narrow V4.
The narrow V4 was chosen firstly for its guarantee of extreme compactness of the masses, and secondly for the need to capitalise on the great and positive experience built up over the years with the twin cylinder RSV 1000, in terms of general vehicle equilibrium. I should point out that of the three possible layouts, the one we chose was, at the time, definitely the most expensive in terms of development costs and the cost of each single vehicle. A difference that obviously becomes even more marked when compared with any type of twin cylinder. Aprilia's challenge with the RSV4 R therefore became that of offering the customer greater value compared with all our competitors' products, but at a similar price, or even lower. In my opinion, the fact that we obtained this result is an important technical and industrial success for both Aprilia and the entire Piaggio Group. We believe the Aprilia RSV4 R is the sports bike with the absolute best quality-performance/price ratio in the world today.
Claudio Lombardi – RSV4 Engine project manager
“Unique” is a word used so often for new products that it's lost some of its meaning. And yet this is the only adjective that I can find to describe the engine of the Aprilia RSV4. An engine that's the result of a “high risk” project and of the challenge launched by Aprilia's chassis engineers towards the engine experts: to produce an engine with a high level of specific power (180 cv/l) - therefore four cylinders - without jeopardising the manageability and manoeuvrability offered by the twin cylinder RSV 1000. These were the necessary features:
- the mass extremely “concentrated“ around the vehicle's centre of gravity in both the longitudinal and transversal directions;
- the maximum control of the driving torque supplied by the engine.
The engine experts' reply to this challenge was:
- narrow V architecture (65°);
- fully electronic engine management, using Ride-by-Wire.
No engine in this category - supersports production - had these features: we had to develop a project right from scratch, without any points of reference. It was a huge challenge, as is always the case when you're developing real innovative products. The team that I had the pleasure of leading was rewarded by the unanimous success and appreciation earned by the RSV4, as well as the great competitiveness demonstrated straight away in the Superbike World Championship, with the irreplaceable contribution of the great Max Biaggi and the technical and sports know-how of Aprilia Racing. Today, the R version of the RSV4 project offers sports motorcyclists a product that's accessible, yet still maintaining the motoring performance levels that are the foundation stones of the project. I'm sure it'll be as successful as the Factory version, extending it to an ever wider clientele.
Gigi Dall’Igna – Technical Racing Head for the Piaggio Group.
Throughout the period of the RSV4 project, right from the first meeting with that famous “blank paper” on the table, two teams - the racing one and the production one - worked side by side. We compared ideas on every aspect, evaluating the various proposals to arrive at an agreement every time. It's no secret that the engine configuration (a V4 that's absolutely unique in the production world) was chosen with the precise aim of winning on the track. But the entire RSV4 project was based on the twofold goal of excelling both in competitions and on the market.
From the performance point of view, all the dimensional and technical calculations were made within the racing department. Mr. Lombardi, who worked with us to develop the engine, was the key player of a great job; the resulting engine offers as standard certain technical features that we regularly use on the racing version. For use in SBK, also the transmission is a faithful ally: the fact of having a totally removable solution - just like for the RSV4 R - allows us to work on the gear set-up directly on the track, so we can adapt the bike to any surface. The slipper clutch and Ride By Wire throttle grip (which we'd already introduced back in 2002 for the MotoGP RS3) are particularly interesting, too; in our case it intervenes in the hard braking phase, managing the engine brake.
Miguel Galluzzi, Director of the Piaggio Group Style Centre
We worked painstakingly on the style of the RSV4, knowing we had a beautiful mechanics that deserved to be left on full view. That's how the idea of a minimal fairing was born, and from there our experience in the wind tunnel drove us to push that concept to the limit. We simply realised that a short fairing evacuates the heat better. At the same time we were able to reduce the width as well, thanks to the exceptional measurements of the V4. The limited dimensions of the tail fairing make it stand out, so it seems to be moulded from the bottom up; it's a sort of design symbol in this search for minimalist forms. And all this still assures a degree of comfort that I believe to be extraordinary for a supersports bike like the RSV4R. Throughout the process, our clear aim was always to create a bike immediately recognisable as an Aprilia. This goal led to design choices like that of the three headlamps – as a tribute to the first version of the twin cylinder RSV – that allowed us to open up important slits for airbox respiration, and the design of the rims (resulting from the exceptional racing experience of our company).
Mariano Fioravanzo – Head of Sports Bike Design for the Piaggio Group
It was clear from the start that the RSV4 wasn't just a question of developing a bike, but of creating a project made up of various steps, with the overall aim of bringing Aprilia back to the top levels of world motorcycling both on the track and in the market. A project whose goal was to plough a furrow in the world of supersports bikes and which, for this very reason, developed around the most practical choices in the search for top levels of performance and sporting flair. Ironically, the brand new RSV4 R was the most complicated step from the engineering viewpoint, as we had to maintain all the special features of the sisters SBK and Factory, but on a bike designed to offer performance and technology to everyone, and with a product ready to let every rider reach his own limit straight away, raising his personal crossbar lap after lap.
To reach this goal, we concentrated above all on the development of the suspension system, settings and mapping. The end result was amazing, even for us, as the new RSV4 R is extremely effective with high performance levels, but can also be used by less specialised but equally expert, demanding riders. Further proof of the excellence of the choices made on the RSV4 project.