I set the RSV4’s pit speed limiter as I pull out of the garage. For no other reason than because I can. It's the Tuesday after this year's Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas and hot pit is empty, hold for the cleanup crew tasked with re-packing MotoGP team crates. They don’t seem to mind if I abide by the speed limit, but I do it anyways. Because Apriliamade it so that I can. The bike sputters as I turn the throttle to the stop, then settles in at a steady 37 mph. Pit exit passes, I tap the PIT button again, and the bike lets out the most glorious of yelps from its exhaust. We’re off. CoTA, almost entirely to myself. Two days after GP. On what’s become one of the best sportbikes of the past decade.
For 2017, the bike is meant to be even better, too.
I should say bikes, as technically we’re here to test both the RSV4 RR and RSV4 RF. The first of those two bikes is considered the “base-model” RSV4. It gets the same electronics package as the RF, but swaps Öhlins suspension for Sachs pieces, and five-spoke forged aluminum wheels for more budget-conscious three-spoke cast aluminum hoops.
Aprilia says that both models are, on average, one second faster around a racetrack. This thanks to an updated engine, electronic rider-aid package, brakes, and suspension. I’ll say now that I didn’t test this. You probably won’t get (err, want) to, either. Aprilia’s point, of course, remains the same; This is an evolution of the platform, a step meant to build on what’s already been accomplished.