Aprilia has announced it will return to MotoGP in 2016, 12 years after last racing in the category.
Roberto Colaninno, chairman of Aprilia owner Piaggio Group, confirmed the marque’s plans on Tuesday at the Milan Bike Show.
“In 2016 Aprilia will return to MotoGP to win and match the success it had in [World] Superbikes,” Colaninno told Reuters. “We’ve got two years of work ahead of us.”
While Aprilia’s last season in grand prix racing yielded little success — it finished sixth in the 2004 constructors’ championship with just 39 points — it has gone on to enjoy massive success in World Superbikes, winning the 2009 and ’11 manufacturers’ titles. It also helped Max Biaggi to his two WSBK crowns.
The Italian manufacturer suffered a blow last month, however, when its highly regarded racing boss Luigi Dall’Igna, who had been instrumental to that World Superbike success, was appointed as Ducati Corse’s new manager.
Aprilia’s return means MotoGP could potentially boast five manufacturers in 2016, with Suzuki having confirmed its own return one year earlier in 2015.