In an unexpected move, Aprilia has decided to replace Bradley Smith in the Aprilia Gresini MotoGP team with Lorenzo Savadori for the last three races of 2020.
Savadori, who has raced for Aprilia in WorldSBK in the past, and this year was crowned Italian CIV champion on board the RSV4, is Aprilia’s second test rider.
The move was a surprise, as Smith had been slower than his teammate, but put in some solid performances throughout the year, while also serving as a test mule for parts and setup to pass over to Aleix Espargaro.
But, there have been signs of friction in the relationship between Smith and Aprilia, as the long-running saga over Andrea Iannone’s future with the Italian factory has dragged on.
Aprilia has been courting Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, and Smith has always been treated as a backup option.
What’s more, Aprilia has sometimes underplayed Smith’s input to development of the RS-GP.
At Barcelona, Aprilia Racing Track Manager Paolo Bonora said that one of the development problems Aprilia had was that they only had Aleix Espargaro able to push the bike.
When Smith was told of this on the Friday at Barcelona, he was clearly slighted, saying, “It’s good to know, because I need to make a decision for my future.”
The move is obviously a reward for Savadori winning the Italian championship. But, it further complicates Aprilia’s rider choice for both racing and testing for 2021 and beyond.
Source: Aprilia Racing