Aprilia has won the manufacturer’s titles in the 125 and 250 cc classes of the Moto GP world championship this year. The GP season has been characterised by repeated victories by two riders in particular, Alvaro Bautista in the 125 class and Jorge Lorenzo in the 250 class.
Bautista and Lorenzo, who both come from Spain but ride for different Spanish teams, secured Aprilia the manufacturer’s title in 125 and 250 (the so-called GP2 class) respectively, well ahead of the end of the championship.
Alvaro Bautista’s win at Phillip Island began the party for everybody who has worked incessantly to design and develop the racing bikes that emerge from Aprilia’s factory in Noale in Northern Italy. Bautista became world champion on the Phillip Island circuit in Australia where no Aprilia 125 had ever crossed the line in first place before. And that’s not all! Bautista is also the first Spanish world champion to ride an Aprilia. No Spaniard has ever won a world title on an Aprilia before. His record this season has been impressive indeed, with GP wins in Spain, Qatar, Catalonia, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Australia.
The 250 class has had only one real protagonist this season: Jorge Lorenzo of Team Fortuna Aprilia. The rider from Palma de Majorca placed his seal on the 250 class championship by qualifying in pole position 11 times and winning 8 of the season’s races. Especially in the second half of the 2006 championship, Lorenzo proved amazingly consistent, winning three races in a row, in the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Australia. And with 11 pole positions in just one season, he has even broken the record established by Anton Mang back in 1981.
The 2006 season was characterised by the impressive competitiveness of Aprilia motorcycles on circuits all over the world, including racetracks that have been traditionally difficult for Aprilia in the past. In total, up to the Australian GP, Aprilia has collected 19 wins between the two classes, 10 in 125 and 9 in 250. Bautista, already world champion with three races still to go before the end of the season, has been on the top step of the podium seven times, Mattia Pasini twice and Hector Faubel once. Jorge Lorenzo has won 8 races in the 250 class, and Hector Barbera one. The winners are also team mates in both classes: the lucky 125 team is Team Master Aspar, while in 250 Team Fortuna Aprilia has proved unbeatable.
Thanks to Alex De Angelis’s second place in the Japan GP, Aprilia has won its sixth manufacturer’s world title in 250 racing. The 20 points clocked up by the man from San Marino in Japan mean that Aprilia are mathematically certain of the title, with 316 points against Honda’s 255.
But the jubilation really began when five Aprilia riders finished in top places at the last GP of the year in Valencia. De Angelis came home a winner at last after 113 races, and was accompanied on the podium by Locatelli and Barbera, while a fourth place guaranteed Jorge Lorenzo’s 250 world title, and took to 27 the number of titles Aprilia has won in GP racing alone.