Lorenzo Savadori To Replace Bradley Smith In Aprilia MotoGP Team For Last 3 Races Of 2020

In an unexpected move, Aprilia have decided to replace Bradley Smith in the Aprilia Gresini MotoGP team with Lorenzo Savadori for the last three races of 2020. Smith has been Aprilia's main test rider for the past two seasons, and had stepped in to take the place of Andrea Iannone after the Italian was suspended for a doping offense. 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 have been courting Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, and Smith has always been treated as a backup option.

What's more, Aprilia have sometimes underplayed Smith's input to development of the RS-GP. At Barcelona, Aprilia Racing Track Manager Paolo Bonora had 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.

Below is the press release from Aprilia:



Noale, 27 October 2020 - Lorenzo Savadori will début in MotoGP astride the Aprilia RS-GP in the Grand Prix of Europe, scheduled to be held in Valencia from 6 through 8 November.

Lorenzo will also sub for Bradley Smith as Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider in the following rounds which will close out the 2020 MotoGP season, namely the Comunitat Valenciana GP on 15 November, also on the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, and the GP of Portugal in Portimão on 22 November.

Lorenzo Savadori is the newly crowned Italian SBK Champion after dominating the 2020 CIV premier category with six wins and two second-place finishes in the eight races held astride his Aprilia RSV4 managed by Nuova M2 Racing team. This extraordinary performance, achieved in a highly competitive championship against rivals with multiple titles, combined with his efforts as MotoGP tester pursued from the beginning of the year, led to his début in the premier class of worldwide motorcycle racing.

Massimo Rivola - Aprilia Racing CEO

“First and foremost, I wish to thank Bradley for his efforts this season. He took one the unexpected role of factory rider with great dignity and outstanding performance, and his contribution was extremely valuable. Now we are excitedly awaiting Lorenzo’s début. This promotion is certainly a reward for his great season as a CIV rider, dominating the Superbike category. But it is also a step of growth for a rider who will be a tester for our RS-GP in 2021 as well. Riding our fledgling project in the race as well will certainly be a step forward for Lorenzo and, therefore, for all of Aprilia Racing.”

Lorenzo Savadori

“To say I'm happy would be an understatement and I wish to thank Aprilia Racing straight away for this great opportunity. I will be arriving prepared for the event, thanks both to the work done during the tests on the RS-GP and to the CIV season that just ended. It was a challenging Championship that demanded top form and maximum concentration from me. Now I need to reorganise my thoughts, glean from the kilometres I’ve ridden astride the RS-GP and make sure I'm ready and focused for the first practice session.”

Rider profile

Born in Cesena in 1993, Lorenzo Savadori was Italian and European 125 GP Champion with Aprilia in 2008. In the same season, he made his début in the 125 World Championship with three wild cards. In 2007 he was runner up in the Red Bull Rookies Cup development program. In 2009 he raced in the 125 World Championship.

In 2011 he made his début in the Superstock 1000 championship where he was runner-up champion in 2014.

In 2015 rode the new Aprilia RSV4 RF in its Superstock début and it was a triumph: he took 4 wins, 7 podiums and 3 pole positions which resulted in him winning the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup championship, giving Aprilia the Manufacturers Title. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Lorenzo had already competed in the in the WorldSBK Championship, also on the Aprilia RSV4. In 2019, he finished as runner-up Superbike champion in Campionato Italiano Velocità. In 2020 he became an Aprilia test rider and dominated the CIV Superbike season with six wins out of eight races, earning the Italian Championship title astride the new Aprilia RSV4 Factory.


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Bradley may not feel this way just now, but he is the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I love Aplilias (I've had three), but their MotoGp effort is a total clown show. 

Listen to the Gas It Out interview of Bradley at the beginning of the MotoGP season.  Neil Hodgson asked Bradley if he feels that he doesn't get enough credit for his success in GP.  While Bradley was thoughtful in his response it was clear that yes, he felt slighted in his journey.  Maybe he can get out of the GP paddock and the stink that lingers from an uncompetitive KTM (pre-2020) and current Aprilia.  I'm sure the BSB paddock would love to have him and I'd rather him be racing than a test rider in GP.  

Someday he will make a fantastic pundit for a broadcast or moto magazine, but at 29 he still has some years left to fight at the front.

Bradley would be a very welcome addition to BSB, I'm sure the fans would give him a very warm welcome much as they did with Scott. And he has time to carve out a decent future in WSBK too. His MotoGP career is all but over.

Lorenzo Savadori gets a big reward for a bringing home a (now) rare championship for Aprilia. I think it is good to see Savadori get a chance in MotoGp. Good luck to him. Brand A is not the most fancied bike in the race. Let's see what results Savadori can make.

Bradley Smith has done his job reasonable well. That job is test rider as far as I know. It is good that Bradley had a few more races on the all new RSGP. Looks good on his resumé, should make him a better tester. Good luck to him to.

Yes JohnE Bradley Smith is articulate, in english at least, would make a great commentator or technical talking head.

I rode a few track days at Mugello back in 2019. One day Savadori showed up with an Aprilia, what I think was superbike spec. I was on an S1000RR.   He passed me on entry to Casanova so I got to follow him through there, Sevelli, and he was still within good sight through both Arabiatas. To say that he left me goes without saying, but HOW he gained time on corner entry and exit, leaving dark lines from the rear, was freakin mind blowing. Our mid corner speed was actually not miles apart, but analyzing him going into and coming out of corners is something I will never forget. His confidence in the front going in, and his hammering of the rear going, looked so easy. 
Until you share a track with these guys, there is no way to appreciate how talented...and fucking crazy they are. 

Lolprilia am I rite, what an absolute joke.

2020 canon dictates he gets a podium...