It's one of the new models we're most looking forward to in 2020, and now Aprilia's MotoGP riders have been set loose on the new RS660 to help keep the flame of excitement alive as the world waits for the official release in a few months time.
With the bike going into full production next month, the MotoGP trio of Aleix Espargarό, Bradley Smith and Lorenzo Savadori were sure not to miss out on the chance to put a pre-production example of the hot new Aprilia through its paces.
The verdict from the factory riders was unanimous, Aprilia is on to something special with the RS 660.
Aleix Espargarό said: ”It's extremely stable and the engine really pushes hard. I really liked the quick shift feature.”
A smiling Bradley Smith commented: ”After the first two corners, you have total confidence. It's incredible how you can push hard straight away.”
Lorenzo Savadori added: “More than anything, I was astonished at the comfort. I discovered a sport bike that was unexpectedly comfortable.”
The RS 660 marks the beginning of a new era for Aprilia and is the first model of a new generation of lightweight and high performance medium engine capacity bikes, supported by the electronics and technology of the Aprilia Racing department.
With the litre class continuing to fall out of favour with buyers, the middleweight market is where the next big surge from manufacturers is going to take place in terms of development.
Based on half the V4 engine from Aprilia's leading RSV4 and Tuono models, the Aprilia RS 660 is the Italian firm's answer to the demand of new generations of riders for a fun, easy and satisfying bike, that is as happy on the road as well as well as on the occasional track day.
The new aluminium twin spar frame uses the new engine as a weight bearing element and is an excellent example of Aprilia's reputation to build superb chassis architecture.
A first for the segment from Aprilia is the inclusion of the racing-derived active APRC electronic controls, with highly advanced riding aids thanks to the use of the electronic Ride-by-Wire accelerator and the six-axis inertial management platform.
The on-board electronics include five Riding Modes, designed to maximise the riding experience even in extremely different conditions of use, the advanced multimap Cornering ABS system and the digital colour TFT instrumentation.
Aprilia's New Zealand distributor has also indicated that the RS 660 will also be available in a LAMS model with reduced power, ideal for novice riders.
Pricing is yet to be announced but we expect the RS 660 to sit deep into the premium end of the segment.