Aprilia and Zongshen established a working partnership back in 2004. Under the deal, the Chinese motorcycle and scooter manufacturing giant would produce small-capacity models for the Italian firm. That agreement has brought us the SR Max300 and Max250 scooters along with the Terra 150 adventure bike and the GPR150 sportbike.
The EuroAsian strategic alliance is far from unconventional too. KTM and CFMoto share a similar relationship, with the Chinese brand gaining engineering, design, and development knowledge in exchange for Duke 125, 200, and 390 production. That joint venture extends to the racetrack as well, with the Prüstel GP Team running a CFMoto-branded KTM RC4 race bike in the Moto3 Grand Prix series.
Suzuki and MotoGP organizing body Dorna may still be negotiating the Japanese squad’s exit terms for the end of the 2022 season, but many teams are already lining up for the soon-to-be-vacant grid spots. Many paddock regulars believe that an Aprilia satellite outfit has the best shot at replacing Suzuki and digital designer Oberdan Bezzi took the liberty of imagining an Aprilia RS-GP race steed clad in Zongshen badging.
Prominently featuring the brand’s dragon logo and signature color, Bezzi decks out the V4-powered machine in a red, silver, and black livery. If spectators weren’t privy to Zongshen’s country of origin, the Chinese flag, complete with five golden stars, at the tail section should leave no doubts.
Additional Zongshen Cyclone typeface at the side panel adds extra brand adjacency. Still, with a Norton-derived engine powering the Zongshen Cyclone RA9, the logo may be misplaced on the Aprilia-based bike. Bezzi adds Castrol, Case IH, and SC sponsorship stickers to the motorcycle’s belly pan and swingarm to seal the link between the two manufacturers.
This may go without saying, but the digital render is a design exercise and purely speculative. Several teams have already expressed interest in taking over Suzuki’s current grid spots, but both parties must announce the official departure before any new entities enter the paddock. Zongshen is probably very low on that list as well, but Bezzi’s digital render certainly makes us wonder “what if?”.