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Aprilia to make 2016 MotoGP return after 12-year absence

Aprilia has announced it will return to MotoGP in 2016, 12 years after last racing as a manufacturer in the category

Roberto Colaninno, chairman of Aprilia owner Piaggio Group, confirmed the marque's plans on Tuesday at the Milan Bike Show.

"In 2016 Aprilia will return to MotoGP to win and match the success it had in [World] Superbikes," Colaninno is quoted as saying by Reuters.

"We've got two years of work ahead of us."

While Aprilia's last season in grand prix racing yielded little success - it finished sixth in the 2004 constructors' championship with just 39 points - it has gone on to enjoy massive success in World Superbikes, winning the 2009 and '11 manufacturers' titles.

It also helped Max Biaggi to his two WSBK crowns.

Aprilia machinery has dominated MotoGP's CRT class for the past two seasons, with Aspar's Aleix Espargaro finishing as the category's top rider both years.

The Italian manufacturer suffered a blow last month, however, when its highly-regarded racing boss Luigi Dall'Igna - who had been instrumental to that World Superbike success - was appointed as Ducati Corse's new manager.

Aprilia's return means MotoGP could potentially boast five manufacturers in 2016, with Suzuki having confirmed its own return one year earlier in 2015.


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