SBK: Aprilia-Milwaukee, a chink of renewal for 2019

Lorenzo Savadori

Aprilia is trying to reconcile with Shaun Muir Racing, better known as the Milwaukee team, the British company that manages the official RSV4 for the World Championship, for both Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori (in the opening pic). Noale made the offer the Shaun Muir CEO was waiting for, hoping that the demands made by the company will find the right hears on the other side of the English Channel. Aprilia’s chances to keep on racing in the World Championship seemed remote just a few days ago, but now they are much more concrete.

DEMANDS – Shaun Muir explicitly asked Aprilia, even in the official press, to revise their current contract in order to provide bikes, spare parts, and R&D for free starting in 2019. A noose-like request that the brand belonging to the Piaggio Group could not and will not accept. Now that Aprilia is getting more and more involved with MotoGP they would certainly regret to lose a renewal in Superbike but this would make their racing department more efficient in terms of engineers’ employment, as those currently working on the SMR/SBK could be moved to the GP. The meeting Shan Muir had in Misano with Romano Albesiano, head Piaggio’s sports area, definitely smoothed things over. But maybe, as circumstances changed, there was a decisive turn of events.

ALTERNATIVES? – SMR knocked on many doors looking for an alternative to Aprilia. In particular on BMW’s, even bringing to the table a possible future project involving Tom Sykes, after Kawasaki will set him free. But the Germans still need to make a final decision over their involvement in the WSBK with the new 4-cylinders soon to be released on the market. They seem inclined to provide bikes and engines, but not the direct support – not even a financial one – that the British manager asked for. Moreover, BMW is strongly bound to Alpha Racing, currently working in Superstock with Markus Reiterberg and if they decided to take a “factory” deal it would most likely be in that area. Same for Ducati: Racing owns the official team so Borgo Panigale can only host a satellite team. Anyway, neither BMW nor Ducati would give everything for free. All things considered, Shaun Muir probably prefers Aprilia, as they will give him the best-quality materials possible.

RIDERS – In this scenario, they are a secondary chapter. “I can’t talk to anyone until I  have a contract signed by a builder in my hands”, Shaun Muir has been repeating these days. The list of riders still looking for an employer is really long, starting from Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori who raced with SMR for two seasons. But also Tom Sykes, Jordi Torres, and Xavi Fores (just to mention a few) are still looking for a new employer. One thing is sure: if SMR-Aprilia will agree to a renewal, they won’t lack the chance to line up an outperforming pair of riders (with a reasonable investment).

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