The rumours have been around for several weeks, but we can now officially announce that Gulf will be partnering with two World Superbike Teams, initially, until at least the end of 2018.
Team Milwaukee – run by Shaun Muir Racing – has been given the opportunity, by Aprilia, to run their factory race team in World Superbikes from 2017 onwards and the Gulf partnership will therefore move with them to run with the Italian manufacturer. The RSV4 motorbike has proved itself to be one of the quickest in the SBK field and for 2107 it will be ridden by rapid Italian, Lorenzo Savadori, who has been racing an Aprilia this season, as well as by Ireland’s Eugene Laverty who has ridden with success for Aprilia in the past, and who joins the team after two seasons in Moto GP.
Aprilia is part of the Piaggio Group, which also includes Vespa and Moto Guzzi brands as well, of course, as Piaggio itself. With sales in excess of 600,000 motorbikes a year, it makes them the largest manufacturing group for motorcycles outside of Japan.
Gulf will also remain with BMW in World Superbikes, as we will be partnering with Althea BMW – the other BMW Manufacturer-backed team in the championship.
Althea has a strong pedigree in World Superbikes, which includes fielding both the World Champion rider – Carlos Checa – and claiming the World Team Superbike title in 2010.
Althea will go into its second year of fielding the BMW S1000RR. The team currently boasts two riders who regularly feature in the top ten runners – Spaniard Jordi Torres currently 7th overall in the championship and young German, Markus Reiterberger, who has already confirmed his place in the team for next year.
The new deals come into effect after the end of the season, which has its finale at Qatar on October 30th, but will give added spice to the remaining races – be sure to look out for the Aprilias and Althea BMWs over the final three races, with a view towards 2017