It looks like people understandably are getting worked up about the upcoming Aprilia RSV4, leading to speculation on both the road-going model and the firm's rumored return to MotoGP. Just to recap, Aprilia unveiled the RSV4 as its entrant for next year's Superbike World Championship. It uses the 1000cc v4 that the Noale-based company has been developing for some time. Because SBK rules dictate that bikes entered must be based production machines, it's a foregone conclusion that we'll be getting an RSV4 that we can buy sometime in the near future.
Now here's where the speculation comes in. 250GP is being transitioned into a class for larger four-strokes in 2011, moving it away from Aprilia's area of expertise. Additionally, the 1000cc V4 is making a very MotoGP-like 220bhp+ on test benches. Combine these two factors with the company's negative reaction to the loss of a racing class its heritage is closely tied to and you have the recipe for rumors of a MotoGP return.
The obvious problems with those rumors are the engine's current capacity, MotoGP's strict prototype-only rules (witness WCM's inability to campaign their R1-based racer), and the degree to which Aprilia was burned by its failure with the Cube.
As for the production-ready RSV 4 seen in the rendering above? That probably is what it will look like, though we're holding out for something a little less Photoshop-y.