MotoGP

Aprilia Can’t Decide Between Smith or Savadori to Race in 2021, Will Decide Next Year During Testing

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The 2021 MotoGP grid is finally complete. Or complete-ish, anyway. Aprilia has finally made a decision on their second rider for 2021, and their decision is that they will decide after the winter tests at Sepang and Qatar have finished.

Both Lorenzo Savadori and Bradley Smith have been signed for 2021, to fill the roles of second contracted MotoGP rider alongside Aleix Espargaro, and MotoGP test rider.

Smith and Savadori will run through the testing program, including private tests and the scheduled official tests at Sepang and Qatar in February and March, and Aprilia will make its decision based on the outcome of that, Aprilia said in a press release.

Aprilia has been forced into this position by their decision to stick with Andrea Iannone throughout his appeals process.

Once the Italian lost his appeal against his suspension for doping, Aprilia was forced to look elsewhere, but by that time, there choices were severely limited.

Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow had turned down the opportunity. Aprilia had talks with WorldSBK rider Chaz Davies and Joe Roberts, Marco Bezzecchi, and Fabio Di Giannantonio in Moto2.


But, all those options fell through too, Roberts the last to turn down the Aprilia ride, informing the Italian factory on Sunday night.

The best solution, Aprilia decided, was to continue the project as they had started at the beginning of the year, sticking with their three current riders, and putting one of their test riders in the second seat.

Aprilia intend to expand the number of bikes on the grid to 4 in 2022, once the new five-year contract period for factories and teams in MotoGP commences, so doing this opens up perspectives.

The idea is to set up a system like Ducati, with a junior satellite team feeding into the factory squad, giving young riders a chance to learn and find their feet in MotoGP.

The MotoGP rider line up for 2021 appears below:

Rider Bike Contract Until
Monster Energy Yamaha
Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 2022
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 2022
     
Repsol Honda
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2024
Pol Espargaro Honda RC213V 2022
     
Suzuki Ecstar
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
Joan Mir Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
     
Ducati Factory
Jack Miller Ducati Desmosedici GP21 2021 (option for 2022)
Pecco Bagnaia Ducati Desmosedici GP21 2022
     
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia RS-GP 2022
Lorenzo Savadori/Bradley Smith* Aprilia RS-GP 2022
     
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Brad Binder KTM RC16 2021
Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 2021
     
Red Bull KTM Tech3
Danilo Petrucci KTM RC16 2021
Iker Lecuona KTM RC16 2021
     
Petronas Yamaha SRT
Franco Morbidelli Yamaha M1 2022
Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 2021
     
Pramac Ducati
Jorge Martin Ducati Desmosedici GP21 2022
Johann Zarco Ducati Desmosedici GP21 2021 (option for 2022)
     
LCR Honda
Alex Márquez Honda RC213V 2022
Takaaki Nakagami Honda RC213V 2022
     
Avintia Ducati
Luca Marini Ducati GP19 2021
Enea Bastianini Ducati GP19 2021

* To be decided after preseason testing is complete in February/March

Source: Aprilia Racing

David Emmett

One of MotoGP's most respected journalists, David Emmett is the proprietor of the esteemed MotoMatters. We are very grateful to republish David's work here on A&R...though dread the day we ever again get in a car with him.

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