2011 Alitalia Aprilia Racing RSV4: V Force
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2011 Alitalia Aprilia Racing RSV4: V Force

By JeffWare - 03 April 2023

Test: Jeff Ware Photography: Studiozac

Max Biaggi’s Aprilia RSV4 was doubtless the trickest bike on the WSBK grid a decade ago. I got to throw a leg over it at Portimao after the final 2011 WSBK round…

The Aprilia has always been the closest superbike to MotoGP.

The Aprilia RSV4 is the closest of all the WSBK machines to a MotoGP bike, even to this day. The 65-degree V4 is small and compact and incredibly narrow, giving the Aprilia an immediate advantage in aerodynamics and ground clearance.

It is hard to believe the RSV4 is almost in its teens.

I rode the bike the Monday after the final round just over a decade ago in good weather conditions on one of my favourite circuits in the world. The bike was as ridden by Max Biaggi the day before – new tyres, that’s it, just like the Althea Ducati you might have read about last month here on ###[Shannons.com.au]###

Pirelli WorldSBK 120/75-16.5 and 200/55-16.5 slicks on Marchesini wheels.


Sitting on the bike I feel like I’m on a 250 grand prix machine. The long narrow tank, low and angled clip-ons, tall screen and long roomy seat with a small bump stop all scream of Aprilia’s long 250.

An amazing feeling front-end and tyre.

The team fire the machine into life and let me know it is geared for five gears around Portimao. They also explained that although it is reverse shift and has a quickshift for upshifting that Max does not like the shifter for reverse shifting and it is not connected.

I click up to first and like with the BMW ###[you can read that one here S 1000 RR Troy Corser##] , I need a push and a heap of rpm to get going.

The 220hp V4. Max only runs the QS for up-shifting.

Dozens of eyes are on me as I motor all the way down pit lane on the pit lane limiter before peeling out onto the end of the chute. By turn two, I’m hooked on this amazing machine and feel totally at home. These bikes really are, when good, on another planet compared to domestic bikes. It is amazing how good a world champion and a factory team can make a motorcycle work and make a rider feel instantly at one with the bike.

Not quite the punch off turns of the other WorldSBK bikes but has the top speed covered.

The suspension was incredible. Quite soft understandably as I weigh a lot more than Max, but the bike felt so good. Soft on the springs yet really well supported on the damping/valving. The action was so progressive through either the big undulations of the circuit or over the harsh bumps. At any time, the bike remained balanced and the wheels in contact with the tarmac.

Aprilia Racing dash, very similar to the street version.

Steering? Think about where you want to go and you’re there. Brakes? Sensational. Until you experience world superbike or MotoGP level brakes, you’ve never braked!

Eye-popping stopping power yet all with complete confidence.

The RSV4 has the speed but I found the bike lacking a little in punch off turns compared to the Honda, Yamaha and Ducati. However, the top-end was incredibly strong and had this amazing kick from 14,000 to 15,000rpm that had the front wheel momentarily lifting even in fifth gear!

The throttle was very smooth on initial pick-up and power delivery linear. The gearbox action was precise.

Almost as nimble as a supersport bike around the undulating Portimao.

The electronics on the RSV4 were not intrusive like the BMW and I could not really even tell they were working, and was able to ride much, much faster than I could on the BMW.

The decade old Alitalia machine, like the original road bike you can read about this month as well, was a well-balanced, fast, light steering and confidence inspiring machine.

Jeff is too big for the bike of course, so the suspension was soft, but he still found it amazing.


Power: Over 220hp@15,000rpm

Wet weight: 163kg

Fuel capacity: 23L

Engine: Monoblock crankcases with integrated cylinders, 65-degree V4, eight-valve quad cam four-stroke, balance shaft

Bore and stroke: 78 x 52.3mm

Displacement: 999cc

Fuel delivery: Aprilia ECU wit RbW, traction control

Exhaust: Akrapovic Ti and Carbon

Gearbox: Six-speed cassette with straight cut gears

Clutch: Wet, electronic slipper clutch

Frame type: Twin spar alloy with adjustable swingarm, steering head and engine position

Wheelbase: Adjustable

Rake: Adjustable

Trail: Adjustable

Front suspension: Ohlins non gas charged (TTX internals)

Rear suspension: Ohlins TTX shock, factory swingarm

Front brakes: Brembo radial P4X34-38 calipers and 320mm rotors

Rear brake: Brembo P2X34 caliper and 218mm rotor

Front wheel: Marchesini, 3.50×16.5

Rear wheel: Marchesini, 6.25×16.5

Front tyre: Pirelli Slick, 120/75 – 16.5

Rear tyre: Pirelli Slick, 190/65 or 200/55 – 16.5

Instruments: Aprilia/Digitek

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