Dario Raimondi - Aprilia Racing Sports Manager

Dario Raimondi - Aprilia Racing Sports Manager

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When we start to add up the numbers, an almost incredulous smile appears on Dario Raimondi’s face. The Aprilia Racing Sports Manager has been in racing since 1991, basically nonstop, and always at the top levels in the world. An adventure that began, as is often the case, almost by chance: an interview with the legendary Giacomo Agostini, immediate admittance to the Team that “Mino” managed in the GP500 category and the beginning of a long career with Dario working as Team Coordinator and Team Manager on the most important MotoGP and Superbike teams. It was precisely from the factory derivative category that the Aprilia phase began, exciting years and victories with the RSV4 machines ridden by the likes of Max Biaggi, Eugene Laverty, Sylvain Guintoli, Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.

But now the challenge is MotoGP, which Dario Raimondi takes on from a new point of view.

Dario, tell us a bit about your new role with Aprilia Racing.

“The racing world has changed a lot in recent years. I have had the opportunity to live through various eras, and the main difference that you can see now has to do with the manufacturers’ approach to sports. Participating in a World Championship is no longer a way like any other to promote a brand, but it involves a lot of corporate strategy aspects. In our case, Aprilia Racing is not just a racing division. The idea is to become the technological spearhead of the Piaggio Group, a source of knowledge and innovation capable of then branching out to the entire range of production, whether that means motorbikes, scooters or bicycles. In order to do this, it is extremely important to manage the resources well and create a constant flow between the strictly racing activity and the development of production vehicles, involving the customer as much as possible in this process.

What does this mean on the practical side?

“First of all, already from this season, we have increased our presence in the various championships, both international and domestic, where our bikes are demonstrating excellent competitiveness. Take MotoAmerica, for example, with Corti who, despite riding an RSV4 Superstock, is bringing home some satisfying results even against the more powerful and more expensive Superbikes. This is thanks to our range of flexible “race-ready” packages that are suitable both for the technical regulations in the various championships and the needs of the private teams. Our attention to the sports client is also confirmed in the Factory Works programme, through which we are able to provide the track-loving user with a factory bike, built by the racing division, that ranges from a substantially stock version to a true Superbike.”

What else is in the works?

“We want to further increase the customer’s involvement, even offering the support of our engineers for track operations. That means that an RSV4 customer will be able to have the same technicians at his side during a day testing at the track that support our official riders on race weekends. This is a unique experience with a clear goal: to convey the very tight bond that exists within the Piaggio Group between sports activities and production.”

That seems like a rather ambitious plan.

“That is precisely why we decided to beef up the structure that manages Aprilia Racing marketing. Our racing division, with its wins and the technology it has at its fingertips, has incredible potential that provides advantages for the entire Group. Take, for example, the consumption reducing technology that must be developed in MotoGP in order to achieve maximum power, even with a fuel tank with capacity limited by the regulations: developments and research that can lead to an improvement to the fuel consumption of engines destined for the everyday user. This is how there can be a technological crossover even between a 250-plus HP MotoGP engine and a compact city scooter. This is a process that takes place in a decidedly important way in our case.”