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Aprilia USA Announces 2007 AMA Supermoto Team

Factory Aprilia Rip-It Racing and the Aprilia SXV Debut May 19

NEW YORK, May 15, 2007 – Aprilia USA and Atkins Global Management, along with a world-class roster of sponsor partners led by Rip-It Energy Drink®, have teamed up to challenge the ‘establishment’ in the 2007 AMA Supermoto Championship.
 
Factory Aprilia Rip-It Racing team riders Ben Carlson, the 2006 AMA Supermoto Unlimited Class champion and team owner Darryl Atkins, the 2005 AMA Supermoto Unlimited Class runner-up will race the World Championship-winning Aprilia SXV 4.5 V-Twin in the Supermoto class for the first time.

Until 2007, AMA rules have only allowed multi-cylinder machines to compete in the unlimited class.  For the 2007 season the V twin Aprilias will also compete in the 450 class.  Wisconsin native Carlson and New Zealander Atkins will also return to contest the Unlimited Class with the Aprilia SXV 5.5, beginning with the season opener AMA Supermoto Championship races on May 29, at the St. Louis, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
 
“We’re really excited to expand our factory Supermoto race program for 2007,” says Rick Panettieri, brand manager, Aprilia USA.  “The SXV 4.5 has proven to be very competitive in the FIM S2 Supermoto World Championship taking the title in 2006. 
“All of us, from racers to sponsors, are focused on showcasing the Aprilia’s competitiveness on North American soil as well,” he says.

Aprilia’s race engineering heritage – the company has 32 on-road and off-road world championships on the books – has delivered a machine that’s designed to blend the benefits of increased horsepower with an exceptional chassis.  "While the bike is heavier than the competition, the responsiveness of the SXV’s awesome chassis and the added horsepower give us a real unique advantage,” says Atkins.  “We feel we maximized the 2006 season to get an in-depth understanding of this machine’s potential, and we’re excited about making the SXV as competitive on the North American circuit as it has been in the World Championship series.”

Ben Carlson cites the Factory Aprilia Rip-It Racing team dynamic as another factor in the team’s favor.  Former rivals, Atkins and Carlson will compete for the podium as teammates for the first time.  “Darryl has been a tough competitor in the past few years and I’m happy to join forces," says Carlson.  “Add the opportunity to compete on a powerful new machine like the SXV, and it’s a real adrenaline rush.  You can bet that we’re committed to making the most out of these strengths every time the tires touch the track.”

The Factory Aprilia Rip-It Racing team’s first outing on the SXV 4.5 and 5.5 was at the Stateline Supermoto Challenge - a season primer held in Primm, NV.  Carlson took a seventh place finishing spot competing amongst some of the top riders in the 2007 AMA season, while Atkins was involved in a multi rider accident and did not finish the race. 

 The Factory Aprilia Rip-It Racing team is sponsored by Rip-It Energy Drink, Aprilia USA, Parts Unlimited, Bel-Ray Oils, Groove wines, Thor, Scott, Alpinestar, Asterisk, Ogio, ZLT, Dunlop, Beringer Brakes, K&N Filters, Pit Bull, Suzuka, Alpina Wheels, Renthal, Mechanix Wear, Regina Chains, Works Connection, Acberis and AF1 Racing.
 
 For more information on the SXV 450 and 550, plus race reports and photos, log on to www.apriliausa.com. For a complete schedule of the 2007 AMA Supermoto Championship series, visit www.amasupermoto.com.

About Aprilia and Piaggio Group Americas
Aprilia world headquarters are in Noale (Venice, Italy).  Founded in 1962, the company designs and manufactures motorcycles in Noale, with additional production facilities in Scorzè.  With 32 motorcycling world championship titles (27 road and 5 off-road) under its belt, Aprilia is the only European manufacturer to have a complete on- and off-road model portfolio, ranging from sporty scooters, innovative off-road bikes and tough adventure tourers to award-winning super sport bikes.  For information on Aprilia's complete U.S. model line, visit the company's website at www.apriliausa.com.

In December 2004 Aprilia became part of the Piaggio Group, Europe's leading manufacturer of two wheelers and one of the world's most recognized and respected names in motorcycle and scooter production.

With over 6,700 employees, an annual production of more than 680,000 vehicles, 5 R&D centers, 7 production facilities in Europe and Asia, and operations in over 50 countries, the Piaggio Group has a consolidated leadership in the European 2 wheeler market.  Its production includes scooters, motorcycles and mopeds in the 50cc to 1,200 cc displacement range, marketed under the Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Derbi, Aprilia, Scarabeo and Moto Guzzi brands.

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