Aprilia has re-signed both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales for the 2023 and 2024 MotoGP seasons.
The contract extensions were officially announced on the eve of the factory’s home Italian MotoGP at Mugello and means Aprilia is now the first team to complete its full rider line-up for 2023.
Espargaro made history with Aprilia’s first ever premier-class win in Argentina this year and arrives at round eight a close second in the world championship.
Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola: “I’m very happy to announce Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will continue with Aprilia for the next two years.
“I didn’t consider other [rider] options… Aleix helped to build this ‘family’ with us and we consider Maverick inside this family.”
Despite earlier talk of difficult negotiations, Espargaro will now remain with Aprilia for a seventh season in 2023, having helped bring the RS-GP project from the back to the front of the grid.
After finally breaking Aprilia’s long-held MotoGP best of sixth place with a podium at Silverstone 2021, Espargaro has gone on to take more rostrums (four) than any other rider so far this year.
With 98 points from seven rounds, Espargaro has already eclipsed his full-season points tally at Aprilia between 2017-2020 and is on course to sail past his 2021 total (120 points, eighth overall) by the midway stage of this season.
While Espargaro’s stunning results meant it would have been a shock if he hadn’t reached a new agreement with Aprilia, Vinales’ future seemed less clear and – with so many other riders yet to sign – many believed Aprilia might wait before deciding on the second seat.
Instead they have shown their faith in Vinales, who made his Aprilia MotoGP race debut in September last year, following a shock mid-season split from Yamaha.
A race winner on both the Suzuki GSX-RR (1) and M1 (8), Vinales has a best result of seventh so far on the RS-GP, but feels he has the pace to achieve much more if he can qualify higher on the grid.
Espargaro’s five podium finishes since Silverstone last season means Aprilia will join the other MotoGP manufacturers in competing without any technical concessions from 2023.
Vinales and Espargaro join only Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Yamaha), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) in having an official place on next year’s MotoGP grid.
But with Suzuki leaving MotoGP, available factory team seats are now limited to just one place each at Repsol Honda, Ducati Lenovo, Monster Yamaha and Red Bull KTM, with reigning champion Fabio Quartararo’s new Yamaha deal increasingly seen as a formailty.
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