Ever since Aprilia's entry into the World Superbike class, there have been rumblings of discontent about the legality of the RSV4. Initially, there were accusations that the bike had not sold the number of units required to be homologated for racing in World Superbikes, which were later joined by claims that the Italian manufacturer was using an illegal fuel injection system, as well as mutterings over Aprilia's use of an aftermarket camshaft gear drive set. The complaints about the injectors and cam drive eventually cause the World Superbike rules to be changed, requiring a completely stock fuel injection system to be used, as well as leaving the camshaft drive system as originally designed.
So it came as no surprise when further accusations that Aprilia was using illegal parts emerged after the Assen round of World Superbikes. According to the French website Sport-Bikes.fr, when Biaggi's RSV4 was inspected at Assen, it was found to be using a different fuel pump to the one found in the machines ridden by Leon Camier and Noriyuki Haga. The fuel pump, Sport Bikes reports, weighs some 300-500 grams less than the production unit and uses less power to feed fuel at the same pressure, leaving the machine with a modest net gain in horsepower. According to the Sport Bikes report, no penalty was issued (as the rules require), the Aprilia team merely being told to fit a standard unit for the following round at Monza.
Speaking to the Italian website GPOne.com, technical director of Aprilia's World Superbike project Gigi Dall'Igna denied that the fuel pump in Biaggi's bike was illegal, stating categorically that the unit was a standard production item. The only difference, Dall'Igna explained, was the production date stamp on the fuel pump, which states when the pump was manufactured. Biaggi's fuel pump had been tested at both Phillip Island and Donington, and the fuel pressure was found to be identical to the standard unit.
Dall'Igna was adamant about the legality of the fuel pump in Max Biaggi's Aprilia RSV4, but there is an even better reason to believe that there was little wrong with Biaggi's machine, as GPOne.com rightly points out: The other manufacturers - especially Suzuki, by way of Alstare boss Francis Batta - have been extremely vocal in their accusations of rule-breaking by the Aprilia. Yet neither Suzuki nor Ducati - who have the most to lose, given Carlos Checa's lead in the championship - have lodged a formal complaint about the part, nor demanded that Biaggi be disqualified. Carlos Checa would gain immensely from Biaggi having 40 points taken from him, as Biaggi is emerging as Checa's main competition this season. Yet nothing has been said on the issue, which suggests that the other manufacturers, at least, believe the parts to be legal. We shall see how this plays out at Monza.