RNF To Switch To Aprilia For 2023 And Beyond

The WithU RNF team is to switch from Yamaha to Aprilia for the coming seasons. An agreement was reached with Aprilia between the Le Mans and Mugello rounds for the team to become a satellite team for the Noale factory, and field two more Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP machines from 2023 and beyond.

The deal came about after talks with Yamaha failed to yield satisfactory results for RNF. The Malaysian team had long been hoping to play a role as a junior team to the factory, in the mold of Pramac at Ducati and Tech3 at KTM. But RNF never felt they got the support from Yamaha which they had wanted.

A switch from Yamaha to Aprilia allows them to make that step forward. Though details are sparse in the press release, it is clear that RNF will get much stronger support from Aprilia than they did from Yamaha, with the team to serve as a conduit for talent into the factory team.

The deal was announced just before MotoGP FP1, a surprising moment to choose. But that was a result of factory rider Aleix Espargaro prematurely tweeting and then deleting a welcome to RNF to Aprilia. But by then, it was too late to retract. The original plan had been for an announcement to be made in the afternoon, but Espargaro's over-eager thumbs forced Aprilia and RNF to announce earlier.

The move by RNF leaves Yamaha with just two bikes on the grid for 2023. The Japanese factory had been in talks with the VR46 Mooney team to race Yamahas next season, but the team is currently still set to race Ducatis.

RNF's departure is the second time a satellite team have left for greener pastures. Tech3 dropped Yamaha and switched to KTM at the end of 2018.

The press releases from Aprilia and the RNF team appear below:


WithU RNF MotoGP Team will line up in next year’s grid with two Aprilia RS-GP bikes

RNF Racing and Aprilia Racing signed a long term partnership from the 2023 season setting a new era as the independent team for Aprilia.

Together for the next season, RNF Racing and Aprilia Racing reached a milestone today by announcing their partnership for two seasons and renewable for a further two years. For the first time in its young MotoGP history, Aprilia will have a satellite team and four Aprilia RS-GPs on track.

Following the past successes, RNF Racing maintains its philosophy which is to develop riders that will eventually become the factory team riders befitting the role of RNF Racing as the development team for Aprilia Racing. This philosophy is in line with Aprilia, which will involve a strong synergy that will lead Aprilia Racing to invest in the partnership for the training of engineers, technicians, managers and, of course, riders.

After proving its competitiveness in the 2022 season, Aprilia Racing presents a package that fits the objective for RNF Racing in the long run and to be competitive. With the multi-year programme in place, RNF Racing will be a valuable ally for Aprilia Racing in the immediate future that will lead to the expansion and enhancement of technical and sporting knowledge.

Razlan Razali, Founder and Team Principal WithU RNF MotoGP Team

"We are absolutely thrilled for this long term partnership with Aprilia Racing. Our philosophy remains to work together with the factory team to develop riders that will one day become Aprilia factory riders. We will assist them in development to ensure that we continue to be competitive and ultimately win with Aprilia Racing. The proposal by Aprilia Racing fulfils our long term plans, strategies and security for the next two plus two years and I must thank Massimo for his trust, confidence and faith in us. We are absolutely looking forward to the season next year and this new partnership. At the same time, we want to express our gratitude to Yamaha for these past years working together and growing together. We will, though, maintain our focus on working hard this season in order to improve our results together with Yamaha and eventually conclude 2022 on a high note.”

Massimo Rivola

"I am happy to announce the agreement with RNF Racing. We have always reasoned in small steps and as we demonstrate the competitiveness of our RS-GP, a natural part of the journey is to see two more on track. The Noale racing department is a true heritage of knowledge, of technical culture applied to high performance motorbikes as well as sports management. With RNF Racing we find a partner to enhance and valorise this extraordinary heritage. We are thinking, of course, of the riders and the best competitiveness, but also of raising new generations of engineers, technicians and managers. To continue and improve the extraordinary, all-Italian tradition of Aprilia Racing.”


APRILIA RACING AND RNF RACING TOGETHER FOR THE NEXT MOTOGP SEASONS

FROM 2023 THERE WILL BE FOUR APRILIA RS-GP BIKES ON TRACK
AFTER PROVING ITS COMPETITIVENESS, THE ITALIAN PROJECT TAKES ANOTHER STEP IN ITS YOUNG HISTORY
MASSIMO RIVOLA: "WITH RNF TO ENHANCE AND VALORISE APRILIA RACING'S HERITAGE OF TECHNICAL AND SPORTING KNOWLEDGE"

As of the 2023 season there will be four Aprilia RS-GPs competing in the MotoGP class of the World Championship.

Aprilia Racing and the RNF Racing team have signed an agreement valid for two seasons, renewable for a further two years. For the first time in its young history in MotoGP, Aprilia will have a satellite team.

Following the positive start to the 2022 season and the confirmation of factory team riders Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales for the next two years, the agreement that will see Aprilia's bikes on track doubled is a further step along the path of growth, both technical and organisational, that the Noale-based racing department has set as its goal.

The philosophy with which Aprilia is approaching this opportunity is in line with what has been done so far. The collaboration with RNF Racing will not be limited to the sale of the bikes but will involve a strong synergy that will lead Aprilia Racing to invest in the partnership for the training of engineers, technicians, managers and, of course, riders.

A multi-year programme that, it is hoped, will lead to the expansion, consolidation and enhancement of a technical and management culture that represents the heritage of the Italian factory.

RNF Racing, despite being a relatively young team, has demonstrated great solidity and professionalism, achieving important results and rightfully entering the MotoGP stage. These results are the result of passion, but also of a technical and organisational ability that will be a valuable ally for Aprilia Racing in the future.

Massimo Rivola

"I am happy to announce the agreement with RNF Racing. We have always reasoned in small steps and as we demonstrate the competitiveness of our RS-GP, a natural part of the journey is to see two more on track. The Noale racing department is a true heritage of knowledge, of technical culture applied to high performance motorbikes as well as sports management. With RNF Racing we find a partner to enhance and valorise this extraordinary heritage. We are thinking, of course, of the riders and the best competitiveness, but also of raising new generations of engineers, technicians and managers. To continue and improve the extraordinary, all-Italian tradition of Aprilia Racing".

Razlan Razali

"We are absolutely thrilled for this long term partnership with Aprilia Racing. Our philosophy remains to work together with the factory team to develop riders that will one day become Aprilia factory riders. We will assist them in development to ensure that we continue to be competitive and ultimately win with Aprilia Racing. The proposal by Aprilia Racing fulfils our long term plans, strategies and security for the next two plus two years and I must thank Aprilia Racing for its trust, confidence and faith in us. We are absolutely looking forward to the season next year and this new partnership. At the same time, we want to express our gratitude to Yamaha for these past years working together and growing together. We will, though, maintain our focus on working hard this season in order to improve our results together with Yamaha and eventually conclude 2022 on a high note.”

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Comments

I wonder if this would tempt Dovi to stay? Does he have the option to stay? He's not really "new talent", but maybe he could ease into a testing role? 

Aprilia have managed to control the news cycle headed into Mugello with the news yesterday of Espargaro and Vinales re-signing, and the new RNF satellite deal. Smart move by them. It's a shame the weather isn't going to cooperate and fill the hillsides with crazy Italian fans, but maybe the forecast will change or maybe Mav and Aleix will have pace in the rain.

I wonder if the RNF deal paves the way for VR46 to switch to Yamaha?

VR46 is mid contract w Ducati. The very Italian Ducati is going great. The Vale-Yamaha connection took steps towards some separation on both sides towards the end. He is wedded to himself and his VR46 kids more than anything now. 

I bet next season there are just 2 Blue bikes. 

Firstly, contracts are made to be broken, but agree there's little incentive for vr46 to do so.  Maybe for 2024, if Yamaha has a major revision of its treatment of satellite teams.

But for 2023 there is still the question of the team which must arrive to fill the Suzuki gap.  Rumoured Husky/Gasgas "new factory team' using badged KTM's seems pretty silly to me.  That would mean 14 bikes from 2 manufacturers which surely can't be what Dorna had in mind for the series.