BMW S1000RR vs Aprilia RSV4, Germany vs Italy. World Superbikes is going to be an all-out war zone this year...!
Strange things seem to be happening in the world of top-flight motorcycle racing. In a year when a major Japanese company like Kawasaki has announced its withdrawal from MotoGP, two European companies – BMW and Aprilia – are actually getting into World Superbikes, with all-new four-cylinder machines.
Forget the recession and cost-cutting, BMW and Aprilia are planning a no-holds-barred assault in World Superbikes this year, and they seem to be bringing the right kind of firepower for the battle that lies ahead for each of them. First, the BMW. The brand-new S1000RR, which will be ridden by Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus, is fitted with a liquid-cooled 999cc four-cylinder engine that, according to BMW, makes 200+ horsepower at 14,000+ revs.
The S1000RR comes with a six-speed gearbox, Dell´ Orto fuel-injection system (with 48mm injectors), fully adjustable Öhlins suspension (43mm USD fork at front, TTX shock at the back) and Brembo brakes (twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers at front, single 220mm disc at the back with four-piston calliper). The bike rides on 16.5-inch wheels shod with Pirelli tyres and weighs 162kg dry.
On to the Aprilia, and the all-new RSV4, which is fitted with a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 999cc, 65-degree V4 that Aprilia claim is the most powerful engine they’ve ever built. Indeed, the street-legal version of the RSV4 packs 180bhp at 12,500rpm, so the World Superbikes racer should, like the S1000RR, easily have more than 200 horsepower.
Like the BMW, the Aprilia also has a host of electronics making sure the engine delivers its best at all times. The RSV4’s engine has bits like variable height intake trumpets, four throttle bodes, eight injectors and ride-by-wire fuel management. There’s also a six-speed cassette-type gearbox, aluminium beam frame with mixed cast and pressed sheet sections, fully adjustable Öhlins suspension and Brembo brakes with monobloc radial-mount callipers.
The RSV4 rides on 17-inch forged aluminium alloy wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) tyres. The streetbike weighs 179kg dry, so we suppose the WSBK-spec bike will be at least 10-15 kilos lighter. On paper, the RSV4 and S1000RR seem pretty evenly matched, though it remains to be seen how they’ll perform on the track. What’s certain is that the 2009 World Superbikes season should be the best ever and the action is likely to be fast and furious. Bring it on now…