Maverick Viñales will race for Aprilia for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. On Wednesday, Aprilia announced that the Spaniard would be racing the bike in the Gresini Aprilia team alongside Aleix Espargaro starting from the next race at the Motorland Aragon circuit.
The decision was taken after Viñales rode the bike at a two-day private test at Misano. The fact that the decision was taken after just the first day is a very positive sign for the Spaniard, that he is adapting quickly to the bike. It was of course made possible by the fact that Yamaha released Viñales from his contract after the fiasco at the Styria Grand Prix. The Grand Prix Commission also had to approve the substitution.
The decision also means that Lorenzo Savadori will revert to his role as test rider. The fact that Savadori was still in considerable pain after surgery to fix the ankle he broke in a crash with Dani Pedrosa in the opening laps of the Styria Grand Prix made it an easier choice. Savadori will compete in a number of wildcards later this season, once his ankle has healed.
The press release from Aprilia appears below:
MAVERICK VIÑALES ON THE TRACK WITH APRILIA FROM THE ARAGÓN GP
LORENZO SAVADORI WILD CARD IN THIS SEASON AND 2022 TEST RIDER
All the pieces have now fallen in place for the Aprilia Racing rider line-up after Maverick Viñales’ début astride the RS-GP during the two days of testing on the Misano Adriatico circuit.
The Spanish rider, extremely impressed by the first contact with the Italian team, will be on the track officially from the Aragón GP, scheduled to be held on the weekend of 12 September. He will take a spot on the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini alongside Aleix Espargaró, who just brought the Noale-based manufacturer their first podium in MotoGP at Silverstone.
Lorenzo Savadori will therefore be confirmed as test rider for the 2022 season, completing an extremely high level trio with the goal of continuing to improve the young RS-GP project. For the rest of the 2021 season, his presence on the track will not be lacking, taking advantage of the wild cards Aprilia has available. Lorenzo’s work schedule will be formalised as soon as he has recovered fully from the injury suffered during the Styria GP, a fractured right malleolus that required surgery.
MASSIMO RIVOLA - APRILIA RACING CEO
"We are extremely proud to be able to announce our plans for the current season and for 2022 with the goal of optimising the contributions of our three riders to the utmost. Alongside our confirmed rider, Aleix, it is our pleasure to welcome a talented athlete like Maverick to the Aprilia Racing team, who demonstrated a great feeling with the team and the bike straight away and who I am confident will be able to give his best as early as the Aragón GP. At the same time, we are also confirming Lorenzo’s role as 2022 test rider. This is a fundamental position that rewards the great efforts he has demonstrated in developing the new RS-GP, whereas he will finish out the 2021 season taking advantage of the wild cards that we’ll decide on together as soon as he is back to 100% fitness."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
"The decision to have Maverick on the track from Aragón is a direct result of the tests done in Misano. It was not a given that, after a career spent up to now on a bike with an in-line engine, Maverick would have a good feeling with our V4 straight away. This is why the test on this track, historically not an easy one for our bike, was an important moment of assessment. Therefore, we are satisfied with Maverick’s immediately positive reactions, which demonstrated a good feeling both with the RS-GP and with the team and our work method. His and Aleix’s talent, combined with the experience Lorenzo has gained this season, make us optimistic about the future of our MotoGP project."