At the beginning of February, 2023, enthusiasts in the extremely motorcycle-happy country of India spotted what appeared to be a small-displacement Aprilia test mule on the outskirts of Baramati, in the state of Maharashtra. That location makes all the sense in the world, as the company has a factory located in Baramati. 

While speculation about what this bike could be immediately abounded, Indian publication Autocar Professional spoke to sources that had plenty to say about what we were seeing in those photos and videos that made the rounds on social media. Apparently, the bike is being referred to as the Aprilia RS 440, and production is planned to start in September, 2023.  

If the words “Aprilia,” “India,” and “September, 2023” are triangulating in your head right now, then you’re probably a MotoGP fan—and you remembered that MotoGP is scheduled to host its first-ever Indian GP in September, 2023. According to those same sources, that’s precisely why Piaggio plans to release the RS440 then—because timing is everything, and excitement for the sportbike marque will be at its peak.  

The new little RS is planned to directly compete against the likes of the KTM RC 390 and Kawasaki Ninja 400. While Piaggio’s extensive Ape three-wheeler lineup (including the newer electric models) is well-known and loved throughout India, the company is in the midst of refreshing and strengthening its two-wheeler lineup within the nation’s borders.  

Can we expect to see the RS440 appear in other markets outside of India? As Piaggio celebrates its 25th anniversary in the Indian market, Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited chairman and managing director, Diego Graffi, told Autocar, “The new philosophy of the group is to have a global approach also with these kinds of products. So, it means that local production will be most likely something that will happen as well as production somewhere in the world. And then we will decide whether to export or not depending on first of all on the needs of the local market.” 

In addition to the RS 440, Piaggio also plans to update its Aprilia scooter lineup in India with what it says are higher-performance I-GET engines that offer both better acceleration and braking. The Aprilia Typhoon 125 scooter will also join the lineup, along with a Vespa Touring edition. 

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