Wilco Zeelenberg Reveals Why the Aprilia 'Is More Of A Prototype' Than The Yamaha
For 2023, RNF Racing switched from Yamaha to Aprilia. Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg reveals why the Aprilia is ‘more of a prototype’.
After a scorching year in MotoGP and an ultimately unhappy marriage with Yamaha, Team Principal Razlan Razali’s RNF Racing team looked around for a new partner in 2022.
Together with Aprilia, they now seem to be able to provide a solid and competitive bike for their riders in the new season.
For team manager Wilco Zeelenberg it is clear that the switch to Aprilia was the right decision made at the exact right time.
The Dutchman accompanied Maverick Vinales and Jorge Lorenzo in the Yamaha factory team from 2010 to 2018, before he was brought into the then-Yamaha satellite team in 2019.
For him as well as the team and both riders, 2023 will be the first year with an Aprilia in the garage as he is looking forward to fighting for more than last year’s last five places.
“I am happy that Aprilia has found solutions where Yamaha had problems.” Compared to the Yamaha, the Aprilia feels “more like a prototype”, says the Dutchman.
“From me, both bikes are very smooth, so very good to ride. The Yamaha is oriented more like a production model because all the parts fit perfectly.”
“You can see the history of Yamaha. They always had satellite teams. The Aprilia is more of a prototype. They bring parts to improve certain areas.”
"They Are Working Really Hard"
Zeelenberg sees big differences, especially in the development work of the two Japanese manufacturers.
Yamaha had complained for years about slow and sluggish development work, while Aprilia has shown much more interest in making the bike more competitive since its MotoGP entry.
“They [Aprilia] are working very hard and opening windows that Yamaha have not opened before.”
“For us, that is very important, that they are developing the technology. They are developing the bike in all areas. That’s what I’ve seen so far.”