The Pull&Bear Aspar Team will continue to race with Ducatis for the 2018 season. At Le Mans, the team signed a one-year extension of their deal with Ducati, which will see the Italian factory continue to supply satellite bikes to the team for next year.
Exactly what spec machinery the team will run is still to be decided. Depending on budget and the riders Aspar can sign, the team will either run two Desmosedici GP17s, or one GP17 and one GP16.
Alvaro Bautista is certain to be one of the riders for next year. The Spaniard has impressed on the GP16 so far this year, consistently matching or beating the factory riders. The second seat is less clear, though Karel Abraham has also exceeded expectations, earning a front row start in Argentina. But Aspar is also keeping an eye on the talent available in Moto2, and if a young and fast rider becomes available, they may elect to sign them. The team remain impressed with Pecco Bagnaia, who rode for them in Moto3 last season. Choices about riders will not be made until the second half of 2017, when it is clearer who will be available next year.
The press release from the team appears below:
Aspar Team renews contract with Ducati for 2018
Sunday, 21 May 2017 07:28
Spanish team will make joint decision with Italian factory over which bikes to run next season
The Aspar Team has renewed its contract with Ducati Corse to contest the 2018 MotoGP World Championship with the Italian factory machinery. The agreement between the Spanish MotoGP team and Ducati includes an option to run two Ducati GP17s, the bikes being used this season by the factory team, or one Ducati GP17 and one Ducati GP16. This decision will be taken later this season.
The 2018 season will be the fifth year of collaboration between the Aspar Team and the Borgo Panigale factory. The Valencian outfit moved up to the premier class with Ducati in 2010 and their initial association lasted two seasons. It resumed in 2016, affording the Aspar Team its best result so far in MotoGP, with fourth place at the Grand Prix of Argentina. So far this year Álvaro Bautista established himself as one of the standout Independent riders during preseason and he also finished fourth in Argentina, where Karel Abraham qualified second on the grid.
Jorge Martínez, general manager de Aspar Team:“For the Aspar Team it is excellent news that we will continue for another season with Ducati, as much for the professional relationship we have with Luigi dall’Igna and all his staff as for the material they provide. We believe that we can still grow more but first of all I hope to be able to give Ducati and our sponsors plenty to celebrate this season, because we have two riders who are proving to be very competitive. We are satisfied with the progress of both Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham in this early part of the season but we have to put a whole weekend together because they both have the potential to be up there at the front. I hope 2017 can be a great year and 2018 even better.”
Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director: “We are very satisfied to have reached an agreement with the Aspar Team and to announce the continuation of our association with the Spanish team through the MotoGP World Championship of 2018. The Aspar Team worked very well with Ducati in 2016 and also this year, with important results already for both riders. For that reason we are very happy to continue collaborating with Jorge Martínez next season.”