Maverick Vinales will return to full-time competition at Aragon.
Maverick Vinales has been officially confirmed to return to MotoGP at Aragon with Aprilia and will race for the Noale squad for the rest of 2021 before seamlessly transitioning into his 2022 contract with the Aprilia team.
As we all know, Vinales and Yamaha split very publically in Austria with the Japanese factory confirming that both rider and manufacturer would part ways with immediate effect following the Austrian Grand Prix, at the time Vinales was already confirmed as an Aprilia rider for 2022 with the split opening the doors for Aprilia and Vinales to get a head start on 2022 and start preparing now.
Following from a very successful test at Misano both parties have agreed to field Vinales for the rest of the season in place of Lorenzo Savadori with the Italian rider returning to his role as a test rider for the remainder of 2021 with Aprilia also confirming he will remain for 2022.
This means that Aleix Espargaro will once again pair up with Maverick Vinales as they have done so previously, the duo working in tandem over at Suzuki to transform the machine into a race winner at Silverstone 2016. Coincidentally, five years on from this victory Aleix Espargaro put the Aprilia on the podium at the same circuit within weeks of Vinales being announced as their 2022 rider.
Can Vinales win on debut as he did previously with Yamaha? We will have to see…
Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO: “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.”
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Technical Director: “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.”