Joe Roberts was the man everyone’s eyes were on to move to Aprilia, what happened?
Aprilia have been on a mission in 2020 to hire every Tom, Dick and Harry for their 2021 MotoGP campaign with talks with Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Marco Bezzecchi, Joe Roberts and at least 10 other riders we can name all either falling through or Aprilia being told ‘no’, it seemed like no one wanted to ride for them.
One man did though, Tito Rabat, the 2014 Moto2 World Champion offered his services to the team just to be declined, pretty brutal when they’re trying to hire every rider but you.
In the days coming up to Portimao, speculation of Joe Roberts going to the team grew and grew, the ex-American Racing rider holding talks with the team with our sources confirming a contract was indeed signed but was then cancelled in favour of the Italtrans Moto2 ride he already had in place for the 2021 season, the same day their rider Enea Bastianini was crowned the Moto2 World Champion.
The move then cancellation confused many with Aprilia even confirming they would confirm their second 2021 MotoGP rider at the end of the weekend, instead, having to hang their head in shame, confirming that either of their test riders Bradley Smith or Lorenzo Savadori would ride the bike for the 2021 season.
Roberts spoke to Italian media Gazzetta Dello Sport saying, “I liked Aprilia, I know I could have been fast, but I want to win and Italtrans is the best team to do it.