Aprilia Denies Rumors Of Illegal Fuel Pump In Biaggi's RSV4

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.

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I was wondering how a lighter pump with the same pressure might increase power. here's the quote from sport-bikes:

"Le seul gain manifeste est donc une diminution des frottements, ce que permet une pompe racing par rapport à son homologue de série. Le moteur a ainsi moins d’énergie à fournir pour entraîner cette pompe, le gain pouvant être évalué entre 2 et 3 chevaux au maximum."

Ahem. 2hp is 1.5kw. Supposing the alternator is only 67% efficient (which would be dismal), that would mean 1kW less power dissipated in the pump by friction.

Now a banal Suzuki pump consumes about 45W total, so reducing it's consumption by 1000W would be tricky. 'Prilla bumps must be sacrément inefficient, dissipating the equivalent of a 1 bar electric radiator worth of heat into the fuel. I'm surprised they don't spontaneously combust...

... Max.

Cams, fuel pump, homologation, slapping fellow riders ..... What next?

If The pump / team / bike is found to be against the rules, I do hope all of Max's points are removed and a "real" fine is given to the team. By real I mean not a silly €3000 fine like what Max got for slapping MM#33.

Can you imagine if Max had slapped someone like Falappa or Roche ! WOW, you could sell tickets to that on Sky Sports boxing nights!

2/10ths of a horsepower. If the item is found to be standard in its efficiency and conformance to specification by scrutineers,yet is up to a quarter pound lighter,surely there is a difference in material composition or body wall thickness.
The quarter pound of fat is the thing to ponder in terms of standard or not.
Not a big issue,but an issue nevertheless.
Calibration of scales,ISO standards,Gigi's date stamp,serial numbers,gas chromatographs.
Glad I got my racing done back when instrumentation efficiency was less important than 500 grams or a quarter pound of butter,give or take a few decimal points.

The weight difference between the 2004 and 2008 GSXR600 pumps is around 300g, so it's possible it's simply a production change as they claim.

Still, I remember ten Kate had a 600 disqualified years back for a rear axle that was slightly under homologation weight, even though they claimed it was just production variation.

No, a true world champion team & rider should not need to cheat or even be mentioned in the same sentence as the word cheat.

Remember HRC running trick ELF fuel back in the RC45 days? The broke the rules and were punished. Granted that did get very messy towards the end.

Rules are rules. (If) they have been broken then punishment must be delt out.

" its only cheating if you get caught.........! " Smokey Yunick

In a serious vein, I hope we are not entering an era where protests/crying for a rule change ( " your rider is too light ".........) are becoming de rigueur when someone wins through having done a better job.

Boy, I do hope WSBK doesn't become NASCAR where cheating is expected and where the cheating quote all come from.

So there's rumblings over this little fuel pump but when Ducati goes a stretch of years not winning the championship the rules are changed so they can have a engine a couple hundred cc bigger than the rest. I'm not a huge Biaggi fan but this seems petty to make a huge deal about.

What philosophy/logic is used to decide what can and cant be changed on a superbike? It seem ridiculous that you cant change a fuel pump such that it makes little if any difference to the bikes performance but you can almost completely replace the suspension.

The logic that if you fitted a 10 bar pump you could get a lot more power :)

But what do you mean "*almost* completely replace the suspension"... which bit can't you change?

There is no philosophy, it is laid out clearly in the regulations:

Rules intended to give freedom to modify or replace some parts in the interest of
safety, research and development.

That part in all caps is printed that way in the rulebook, I didn't do that.

But I just find it interesting about the "...research and development".

I think if WSBK wants to ruffle feathers, they should focus attention that aspects they allow to be changed. Showcase the technology that may make it's way to production bikes. We don't hear much about that. I just wonder if that's on purpose?

Yes but there has to be some sort of philosophy or logic in deciding what goes into the rules, you dont just randomly set rules. You could justify replacing every part of the bike in the interests of "safety, research and development" however they have decided only certain things are allowed to be replaced. Why? Whats the logic for selecting those particular parts as being changable? Thats what im getting at.

good point mtiberio!

its racing for crying out loud - smokey yunick said it right!

look @ motogp during the 'over night specials' that kept rossi ahead of the game (inspite of his magnificent talent) nor the 'passes' that cat pulls without being punished, or the ducati situations ...

leave max alone - he doesn't build/fund/design/modify the bikes - he just hits people smaller than him with his handbag!

It's laughable that the Aprilia technical director would compare the specifications of the illegal pump to the "standard" pump.

Quite obviously that means that the pump fitted is not standard, which is what is required by the rules.

The technical inspectors aren't stupid either. It must have been obvious to them that the part was different otherwise they wouldn't have said anything. It must have been more than just a date stamp as suggested.

The official debate would have been whether the illegal pump added much to the performance and it seems that they decided that it didn't so they let it slide.

Overall it means that they let what they would call a 'minor infringement' go to save embarrassment.

Doing things like this is only making a rod for their own back