Maverick Viñales To Replace Lorenzo Savadori At Aprilia From Aragon

Maverick Viñales testing the Aprilia RS-GP machine at Misano, August 31st 2021, photo copyright Aprilia

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:


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.


"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."


"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."


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Fantastic news. Lorenzo might not be the bleeding edge but he's come across very well, topped a practice session and a Q1 beating Mir, Bagnaia, Binder, Rins and many more. I know it's not much but if it was me that would be painted on my house roof and illuminated by flashing lights. Well done lad. However, this news has definitely added some spice for the next race.

I'm not exactly a Vinales fan, but I am very interested to see what he does. I know we can't expect too much, with such limited seat time. But Aleix is finally getting what he asked for in a WC-level teammate (when Mav feels like it, at least), and everyone is curious what the maximum level of the bike is.

Hot take: Vinales had a great test at Misano because Vinales always has a great test. Let us see how a race weekend goes.

Leopards don't change their spots and people don't change in 2 weeks. Or usually in 2 years. Mav is the same Mav and Aprilia is the same Aprilia. I can almost hear the tick, tick, tick from here. I guess it will be diverting when the inevitable tantrum/poutfest occurs but I still think it's a shitting shame he gets rewarded for his long-time pattern of execrable behavior. He is supposed to be a professional and dozens, if not 100's of peoples' livelihoods were wrapped up in his performance at Yamaha. He let them all down because he acts like an entitled baby. Lin Jarvis has been around a while and dealt with the biggest egos on earth, at the same time, and he said this situation is unique in his experience. I will not hope for Mav to fail and he'll probably be fast but I won't be shocked when it all falls apart. I will cheer for classier, more professional riders, which is almost all of them.

but I fear your post is spot on the money, Brian. Mav's behavior at Austria, while I almost understand it as a perfect storm of frustrations, was inexcusable.

Another fear is that should Mav be riding toe-to-toe with FQ20 later this season, he will forego all niceties. Time will tell.

The engineering has changed but have HR? It's Aprilia management that is apt to be the problem. The bike is better, are the tact and soft caresses gonna be there when dealing with Mav? 

His record shows that he demonstrably not been able to manage the big egos of factory riders:

  • Lorenzo and Rossi - Dealt with that by annoying Rossi out the door to Ducati
  • Lorenzo and Spies - So thoroughly ignored Spies' side of the garage his bike was falling to pieces on track
  • Lorenzo and Rossi round 2 - Was too busy getting caught in Rossi's tiff with Marquez to notice that Lorenzo had won the championship and delivered him straight into Dall'Igna's arms at Ducati
  • Rossi and Vinales - Again too busy aquescing to Rossi to look after the much faster Vinales
  • Vinales and Quartararo - Shiny new thing arrives in the garage and takes all of his attention and he continues to ignore Vinales until we end up in our current situation

The Vinales situation is complicated but to completely place the blame on Vinales and exonerate Jarvis is to complete overlook the fact that it is the Team Manager's job to ensure that both riders are feeling looked after and respected, or at least do a HRC and make sure that the rider knows the pecking order and their place in it from the beginning. With a record like Jarvis' I'm very sympathetic to Vinales as he will have spent 4 1/2yrs sitting in the Yamaha garage, winning races, getting podiums, topping timesheets only to then feel (whether true or not) that all of the team's focus is on the other side of the garage.

Never mind Jarvis recruiting Rossi & Lorenzo, and winning God knows how many championships with them. When analyzing Lin Jarvis' time at Yamaha, the clock starts when things are going bad and stops when they're going great- which is most of the time. 

Over the last 20 years there have been 6 WCs- 2 of them were at Yamaha and barring catastrophe the 7th will be too. Give credit where it's due- Lin Jarvis is easily one of if not THE best MotoGP team boss on the grid.

I have no personal feelings either way about Jarvis. I just think it's a bit rich to point out his successes and his words on Vinales to exonerate him when his history of rider management can only lead to a large helping of blame being dished out his way. Recruiting Rossi at the height of his pomp wanting out of Honda with no other options and Lorenzo off the back of successive 250 championships is hardly the act of genius level foresight.

If you have no personal feelings about him, why do you refuse to be objective when discussing him? Yea he made some huge mistakes. Yamaha's years in the wilderness after the switch to Michelin is another one. But at the end of the day, far more often than not, under his leadership Yamaha has been a legit championship contender. The only other factory that comes close is Honda and their parent company is like 100x Yamaha's size. 

Plus Yamaha is hardly unique in rider mismanagement. You know who else lost Rossi? Honda & Ducati. And again, Yamaha was able to get him back and damn near get him his 10th chip. Ducati also lost Lorenzo and Honda maimed and retired him. Etc. The only factories I can think of that haven't had huge management mishaps are maybe KTM? But where are their MotoGP championships? This is a brutal sport with the best talent in the world.... you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. At the end of the day all that matters is results and Lin Jarvis has consistently generated them over 2+ decades. Show some respect and at least pretend to be objective. If you think his mistakes outweigh his contributions that's fine, but at least acknowledge his contributions

Really enjoyed your argumentation. LJ deserves a bit more respect, so thanks.

What that dude said about the likelyhood that MV will change his spots.  The only question is how long it will take for him to return to his pouty, sullen ways at Aprilia.

Except , however we know he's always happy at tests. Races..... TBD I tend to agree with some others here that this marriage will end up annulled after he starts finishing outside the top ten and blames eveybody and everything besides his own fragile ego.

Suddenly we need a stato.

I wouldn't bet on him getting a podium though. His times are competitive ? Yes ? 2021 bikes in anger at Misano ? We shall see. Definitely a good start. He looked amazing for first time on the bike. That's Mav, buckets of talent, it has two wheels, see ya later. The work begins at Aragon.

Vinales did 114 laps today with the best a 1m 32.4s, equalling his best lap on the Yamaha in last year's grand prix where he WON. 

This is not the old Aprilia at ALL. People can and do change. Fish must be considered also as in the water of the tank they are in. It can be changed, and ailments go away. Certain fish are vulnerable to particular kinds of ick. But it is never JUST THEM. Nor just the bike. Nor just the garage, or brass. This needs to be said about every bloody thing we consider here as usual. Blue deserved a big F You a couple years ago. Mav bottled that up late 2019. It popped. That is the past. Yes, Quartararo can ride that bike. But the Blue - Vinales partnership wasn't a good fit. 

He still needs to leave braking later and harder, and then "Dani" push the bike up more to gas out, good old V corner vs sweep it. He has shown his style able to do that exit riding style. He is already identifying the braking and working on it explicitly. Nothing to indicate he can't and won't master this and soon. And, he is already ripping great pace. Do not count this combo out as a synergistic fit. Frustrated "overriders" have always struggled on the Yamaha. Not so on the V4's. Underdog Team culture is diametrically opposed to Yamaha and Honda's. We cannot say what will happen, sure. But don't make the mistake of believing it can't. It CAN. 

I think none of that can be said with any certainty. I think Shrink is closer. We saw something from a distance. We do not know everything that went on, never will. People do change and the potential for change is highest at the extremes. So if Mav really is way out there...then the change, if it occurs will be quick. More probable, there's not much wrong with him. No more than the average person. Which is to say he's fine.

I am optimistic, excited, and call this a good thing for everyone. Meaning, what in terms of results? And what do you see for results? 

We might not be so far off when it gets to brass tacks, and I might take a bet. But, after several poopers here, make them on token wagers. 

He will do rather well. Quickly. He does not necessarily HAVE to have any "blowout" tantrums. He didn't at Suzuki. He did a few times in particular contexts at/on Yamaha. 

I appreciate your perspective. Do you think he will beat Aleix on points for 2022? I do. Get a podium by mid 2022? I do. What is success at Aprilia now? Aleix reflects that. I would bet Vinales reflects that plus some next yr. What constitutes a "blowout/tantrum?" If the threshold is reasonable, I sincerely believe he may never have one ever again. 

Flipside, yes riders have shared struggles w Black management. But is Vinales to be equated with Lowes, Redding and Iannone? And what has A.Espargaro's experience been with this same Team? Why would we assume there will be disharmony? Even down to the bike and riding style, why assume that Mav and this sweet handling 'give me a thrashing" Italian V4 won't quickly become mates?

There are a couple of question marks about Silverstone. What if Martin and Marc were in it? What if Mir and Bagnaia had different F tires and or set up changes? But do you see where we DON'T have ?'s...Quartararo looked like he was relaxed and just enjoying, smooth w more in pocket. And, relevant, both the Aprilia and Aleix - they had lots on tap! Many beautiful ferocious moves throughout. The bike is putting LOTS of power down on drive out! This is a big fookin deal, and not easy to do. Legit beat Miller/Red, his Duc was pumping some on the beans. Black did NOT, it drove out like a bloody scalded leopard. Look out! Noale is here!


Matter of fact over prideful when we not long ago had a similar thing w Zarco at Orange I called off the pitchforks and torches, said he could do great on Red and get into the draft of the front runners. He did. Then I called that he has crested zenith. Not a bad crystal ball track record. Got a couple of them wrong too, but not many. 

Martin has a lot of manifesting potential for the next seasons. Binder/KTM too, but less. Mir/Suzuki has untapped juice, but it is enough for 2nd this yr. Marc isn't done with his return for sure, it is just slower than optimal physiologically. And the bike is NOT helping, it is the weaker part vs his shoulder/upper arm. Vinales and Aprilia have chemistry. The floor isn't low, and the ceiling is quite high.

I would make the bet that is not yet apparent, and make some cabbage. Honestly, perhaps discovering sports betting could be a good experience? There is tinder laying around to ignite. It may be "that bike, that rider, and that timing." Do I mean championship? No. But look at the current state of expectations...dismal? No fookin way. I can see him challenging for a win by 3/4 of the way through 2022 in normal dry conditions. An honest 2nd. And, being happy/thriving as a rider there. 

Same human being, different bike. Different garage. Different culture. Pressure. Locus of control. Narrative. Brass. He could thrive. 

5th in the 2022 Championship.


When anybody talks about how hostile an environment Aprilia is based on Lowes's experience I tend to remember that Aprilia showed an immense amount of loyalty to Ianonne. They stuck with him right to the bitter end, way beyond what could be reasonably expected. They've shown a lot of love and loyalty to Salvadori too. Impressed.

Also when all the fingers are pointed in the Vinales situation it boils down to a failed marriage. Vinales failed, Yamaha was a failure for everyone. Life goes on. 

It is true that the patterns of the mental persona of any one individual will most likely not change during their lifetime. But, to the best of my knowledge, anyone has the ability to self-reflect on the workings of their mind. And when engaging in this type of "work" different and seemingly unique perspectives are discovered. I do not understand how one can conclude without a doubt that someone else will never be pushed from within to engage in this practice. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. We are not all that different.

2020 Aragon 1 results...

1) Rins Suzuki 2) Marquez, HRC 3) Mir 4) Vinales Yam 5) Nakagami HRC.

Aragon 2...

1) Morbidelli Yam 2) Rins Suz 3) Mir Suz 4) P.Espargaro KTM 5) Zarco Red.

Lots of bikes and riders can do the business there, from a customer Yam to a KTM, Suzuki to a satellite Honda, or customer Duc.

So could Aprilia. With Maverick on it. 




on a KTM?? Did i miss him getting fired from HRC and re hired at KTM? Stay off the drugs man.

Dunno wat to make of this. Under funded team...with an improved all round bike...also with reliability issues....and a rider with a narrower mental operating window than a Michelin motogp slick. Who knows.

Rivola may play an important role in Vinales future success. He comes across as a talented people person. It's well known that A. Espargaro is an emotional guy who has mentioned in the past of getting very nervous before race starts and was considering a mental coach to help with this difficulty. From the outside, it seems Rivola is able to help Espargaro maximize his potential. Espargaro looks more in control during races. Managing people when emotions run high is a true talent. Saying the right words, or not speaking at all, in key moments is a gift. Rivola might be a gem in this area. I get a good feeling listening to his words.

I could be wrong. Just observations from the sofa. But Vinales to Aprilia might work very well. This move is good for everyone. 

Very interesting observation, gonna pay special attention to that the coming weeks

Now this is meaningful. Mav clearly has the speed. Anyone who can unlock his mind will make him a champion. Very good observation. Aleix did seem extremely calm and measured after his podium which was unexpected.

I wonder was Aliex just relieved that he got the first Aprillia podium before MV12 arrived?

I suspect A. Espargaro is not going to play the obedient number 2 rider card that well given he was top dog before. One win for Vinales and Espargaro will let is know how he feels. Poor results for MV and we will also know!

When they were team-mates at Suzuki, as I recall Maverick was usually faster. But AE has been working his ass off to improve for several years, while I get the impression MV relies on his natural talent more than hard graft to improve. Should prove entertaining which ever way it goes.

I've been wondering about that No1 rider thing.  A lot of media reports suggest MV12 is the Golden Boy drafted in to win so the in-garage dynamics will be interesting.

Yeah, I agree. For a reputation as an emotional guy, Espargaro was joyful and very composed after the Silverstone race. And, as far as I could tell, he did not shed a tear in parc ferme or on the podium. Even when the discussion brought up Fausto Gresini. Surprising. Composure is easier when finishing on the box. Plus Espargaro was probably in dream mode. He mentioned that life felt like a dream. This experience can occur when someone accomplishes something they have been visualizing about for a long time. The dreamer, romantic mindset.

One guy that is really impressive when he has a bad day at the office is Binder. He's straight forward, clear, owns up to what part he played in a dissapointing result and doesn't have a pattern of chucking anyone under the bus. Then he wraps up the debrief with a positive mindset about moving on to the next race. Very composed when life is tough. True warrior.  

Viñales seemed to turn over a new leaf after the Qatar 1 race. In the post race presser, he was very composed, thankful and had his emotions under control. So, he has this capability inside of him. He just needs the right group of people around him to help bring it out of him. And to help him not descend so deeply into the dark hole when results don't meet expectations. Everyone has days they would rather forget. I hope the folks at Aprilia are the right team for him. More guys battling at the front the better.

We are different people for different roles, particularly at the exalted level we take our entertainment from. Dwelling further can, for me, drain the wonder. But the different respectful and wide ranging comments are absorbing as well as being a recurring reminder of the unique nature of this site: the refuge!

"This one is for my wife!" and huge very real emotion upon getting to the garage. 

And he BURNED WITH A FIRE too, he is having plenty of emotion. He spoke clearly, but was doing so via the clarity of having his entire being engulfed in glorious flames. 

Yeah! I saw that video after posting the comment. This happens all the time. I draw conclusions about something in life and the next day the opposite pops up. Always keeps me guessing.