Maverick Viñales returns to MotoGP grid with Aprilia from next race


Aprilia gives Maverick Viñales a MotoGP race seat earlier than planned after a successful test at Misano


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Two races after being suspended by Yamaha, Maverick Viñales will return to this year’s championship as an Aprilia rider, replacing Lorenzo Savadori for the rest of the season.

On the second day of a private test session with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, the team announced that the nine-time MotoGP race-winner will be riding the RS-GP from next week at the Aragón Grand Prix, alongside Aleix Espargaró

Viñales was due to race with Aprilia next season, but his debut has been brought forward after a successful test at Misano, where he is said to have shown a “great feeling” with the bike and to have shown that he can “give his best” at Aragón.

Savadori, who is recovering from a broken ankle suffered when he hit Dani Pedrosa’s stricken bike at the Styrian Grand Prix, will become Aprilia’s test rider for the rest of this season and throughout 2022. He is likely to be back on the grid as a wildcard entry at some races this year.

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“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,” said Missimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO. “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.”

Viñales agreed to part company with Yamaha just under a fortnight ago, following his suspension for hitting the rev limiter at the Styrian Grand Prix.

“The decision to have Maverick on the track from Aragón is a direct result of the tests done in Misano,” said Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Technical Director. “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.”