It's a sunny morning in Valencia, and I'm at the Ricardo Tormo circuit sipping a coffee whilst listening to 20 roaring V4-powered Tuonos being warmed up in the pit lane. One of them is mine, all mine, for the day with a dedicated mechanic – I'm being treated like a MotoGP star.
I start my first session with the traction control set at level six and then reduce by one for each lap until I'm down at level one. The Aprilia 2011 Tuono V4R is a bit of a shock to the system as it just pulls like an angry bull everywhere and stops as if a freight train suddenly started pulling it in reverse. When I've finished my second 20-minute session I'm experiencing arm pump and a threatening cramp in my left leg each time I brake hard. My mechanic made some rear-suspension adjustments which changed the bike a lot and made my hard riding much easier.
The V4 engine, taken directly from the RSV4 R superbike, suits the Tuono perfect with an absolute abundance of power. Aprilia has only de-tuned it slightly, down only 13 horsepower short of the RSV4 R. The Tuono is hard physical work when it hits the higher revs as I really have to push myself forward to avoid hanging after the bike by the handlebar. The Tuono munches up all the short straights at the Ricardo Tormo circuit like nothing else, and quickly it seems the whole circuit is a succession of corners with one long start/finish straight.
More: 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC Review on Motorcycle.com