MasterBike 2010: Aprilia RSV4 Factory

Cycle World Associate Editor takes his turn on the Aprilia RSV4 Factory.

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On practice day, drawing lines on Motorland's flowing pavement with the Magic Marker Aprilia RSV4 Factory made it easy to connect the dots and not color over the lines. A balanced chassis and well-set-up Öhlins suspension made late braking and squaring up tighter turns a labor of love. Lean as deep as you like; there are zero issues with cornering clearance, unlike with some of the other front-runners. Acceleration on the RSV4 starts low, with the torque of a Twin, and as the revs rise, its engine pulses smooth out as it pulls hard toward an inline-Four-like finale. Every rider I had a chance to talk with echoed my high opinion of the Aprilia, including Papunen: "A great chassis and awesome engine make it feel like a MotoGP bike. Sharp handling and very fun to ride!"

Race day only confirmed my Aprilia infatuation: When I play those four flying laps back in my head, the only bad I can remember is being chucked out of the seat exiting Turn 7 whilst looking for the edge of the track and some traction at the same time. I found both simultaneously, thank God, and landed back on the Aprilia rather than directly on the perfect pavement in my nice new leathers. Instead of thinking about what might be wrong with the Aprilia, all I recall is: "This is faster than I've ever gone around here before." Balanced Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes and Pirelli grip allowed me to clear my mind of worry and attack the track for a best time of: 2:03.422. Not bad.