MotoGP, Rivola: “I come from F1 and MotoGP welcomed me with skepticism”

Yesterday we published the first part of our interview with Massimo Rivola, CEO of Aprilia Racing (look here). We spoke to him about the arrival of Vinales and her relationship with Dovizioso. A story that goes hand in hand with the development of the RS-GP, which made it onto the podium at Silverstone. But the manager from Faenza was viewed with suspicion when he entered MotoGP from Formula 1 and Ferrari. His decision to hire technicians with four-wheeler experience was also viewed with suspicion.

Rivola is the first to admit: “Our working group is getting stronger. The people who were seen with a bit of skepticism – a bit from the press and maybe even from within – because they came off four wheels, have integrated. Having a broader culture is an advantage. “

“The spoon? Now you are beginning to understand why I did it.”

They were also viewed with some skepticism. You have also appealed against Ducati’s “spoon” …
An appeal that everyone now understands. I’ve heard there is too much aerodynamics. I experienced it for twenty years and immediately pointed it out. Be careful if you don’t write the rules well! I’m happy about all of this. I had already experienced these problems and I had to do them. I obviously felt this skepticism towards myself, both in the paddock and in the company. It’s normal, but I’m used to going my own way because I believe in what I’m doing. I work a lot and the work pays off. So, full speed ahead! Now we have improved and that helps everyone, even me. “

This is a good time for Aprilia, but when you joined the company the situation was complicated. What did you think?
“What was I thinking!” he said with a giggle. “But seriously, it meant there were so many opportunities to develop. I always try to see the positive side. The problem is always how much of it you have to be judged. So you have to play some wild cards when you don’t have that much. When you’re far off in terms of performance and don’t have a lot of resources but feel like you can do something, you have to take care of every step. As Minardi said, you have to count to ten. I’m not denying that there was some luck, but there is work to be done at the foundation. When you take someone off the four-wheeler [sector] and make him ride a motorcycle, if you know he is a hard worker and that he did it really well then he will make it. It is more a problem of integration to make the corporate culture understandable to him. All of this makes the challenge even more fantastic, but also in the past, when I was asked what I need, I always said ‘time’. “

“To improve, I had to find the balance to change without destroying things”

Don’t things change overnight?
“When you join a company of a certain size, you can’t double it or you destroy it. It would mean that you are disrespectful to what has been done before. The balance of not being able to destroy but of offering more possibilities by creating more tools and bringing in knowledge from different worlds is the most difficult to achieve. Then you see you’re getting results on the track and I’ve always said that our 2020 bike was a lot better than the 2019. You couldn’t tell because the others had made an important leap forward, especially KTM. We measured our performance against ourselves and saw that it was fifteen instead of forty seconds per race, and this year we went to five, ten. Tall grass is easier to mow than short grass. If we get to two and a half next year, that means we will get even closer. Two strong riders and a test rider who also rides similar bikes will help.

“I’m aiming for the first win next season”

Speaking of time: when is the first win?
I want to win a race next year. But let’s stay calm. The fact that we got a podium tells us we can do it, but now we need to raise the bar. It’s okay to enjoy a podium, but our celebration at Silverstone was similar to a World Cup because it was exciting. That hadn’t been the case for 21 years. We have to make sure that this is not enough. It still has to make you eager.

Moto Guzzi celebrates its 100th birthday. Has the idea ever occurred to me of bringing the brand back into MotoGP? A bit like KTM in Moto3 with Husqvarna and gas gas?
“Yes, but it was never really explored because Aprilia now has a very specific DNA identity. It would be nice to see that the Piagge Group is investing heavily in the future headquarters in Mandello, presenting the V100 and at the same time the 660 series for Aprilia. In the past it was obvious that there wasn’t much incentive with motorcycles. Maybe the owner was more interested in scooters. Now it’s a historic moment with big investments in Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. It is great. If Aprilia hadn’t progressed in MotoGP. We would have been the missing link. If we continue to do our job well, the whole group will benefit. It is a responsibility to be borne. All of this gives a positive incentive. “

So we won’t see Moto Guzzi in MotoGP?

Today the races are Aprilia, so with two motorcycles, right? Who knows with four. If we’re going to have a satellite team in the future, why not? And if we could have an 8-cylinder, even betterHe said with a laugh.