On 10 November, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) disqualified Andrea Iannone for four years, the rider accused of having used illegal substances.
After a long wait, believing in the innocence of its rider, Aprilia now has to find a new team-mate for Aleix Espargarò.
The first names on the list were Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, but as we know, the Italian has chosen to take a sabbatical while the Brit has decided to retire.
“If Savadori continues to surprise us…”
Another possible ‘contender’ for the 2021 MotoGP Aprilia might be Lorenzo Savadori, who surprised everyone at Portimao today, setting the fourth fastest time during first free practice and rounding out the day in sixteenth position.
“For a guy like Savadori who comes from the CIV, we should congratulate him because he’s doing great things…”, commented Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola when speaking with Sky Sport about Friday’s results at Portimao.
When asked about how the search for Andrea Iannone’s replacement is going, and whether Savadori might be an option, Rivola stated: “We need to look at all the riders we already have on board, it would be disrespectful not to do so.
“Giving Lorenzo the chance to do three races and get to grips with the MotoGP is definitely a benefit that we’ll carry forward”, because he’ll become a better rider, even in terms of testing next year. And if he surprises us with this kind of performance, we’ll definitely give him further consideration of course…” adds Rivola.
Other candidates include Bradley Smith, who completed the first eleven races in place of Andrea Iannone, scoring a best result of twelfth at Jerez.
“Bradley did a good job throughout the season. He should have been test rider, but he gradually got closer to Aleix (Espargarò) in the races and now we’re giving Savadori the chance to be a better test rider next year” comments Rivola during the MotoGP Constructors’ press conference.
Massimo Rivola is also considering Moto2 talents, such as Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio. “Moto2 is a great training ground for MotoGP”, says the CEO of Aprilia Racing.
But that’s not all. Lately, there are even rumours of a Superbike rider arriving in the Aprilia garage, Chaz Davies to be precise, left without a ride after a lengthy stint aboard the factory Ducati.
One thing is certain, and that is that a decision will be made soon. “Over the weekend” promises Massimo Rivola. Also because it’s time to start thinking about 2021. All we can do is wait (but not for long!)…
Translated by Heather Watson