Aleix Espargaro champions Dovizioso for Aprilia MotoGP swoop for 2021

Aleix Espargaro thinks Aprilia would be wasting a big opportunity if it didn't make a swoop for the newly available Andrea Dovizioso for 2021 MotoGP

Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro has called upon his Aprilia Racing team to seriously consider making a swoop towards Andrea Dovizioso for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship following his decision to depart Ducati at the end of the year.

Runner-up on the Ducati for the past three seasons behind Marc Marquez, Dovizioso remains in contention for a coveted 2020 MotoGP title too, but it hasn’t been enough to convince him to stay amid wrangles over salary.

However, the relatively late decision means the 15-time MotoGP race winner is left with scant few options on the grid for 2021, with two of the three remaining non-Ducati seats at Petronas SRT Yamaha and LCR Honda almost certain to be going the way of Valentino Rossi and Takaaki Nakagami respectively.

New 2020 Aprilia RS 660 | EICMA 2019 | Visordown

However, one option could be a move to Aprilia Racing alongside Espargaro provided it is prepared to renege on the loyalty it has thus far shown Andrea Iannone. Team bosses have said repeatedly it was prepared to wait until the outcome of his appeal for an 18-month drugs suspension hearing to make a decision on whether he will be able to re-join the team

However, with that hearing put back until October at the earliest, Aprilia may see Dovizioso’s availability as too good an opportunity to miss, not just for his race-winning pace but his invaluable 12 years of experience competing in the premier class at a time when the team is still hard at work developing the RS-GP into a front-running contender.

"I said many times in the past, he's my favourite rider on the grid, how he approaches the races, how he works, his character," Espargaro candidly told reporters ahead of the Styrian MotoGP.

"I'm super different, I'm a lot more up and down than him. I can learn a lot from Dovi as a rider, and also I think he can bring a lot of information here, so also our engineers can learn a lot. I think it would be fantastic, like a dream, to have Dovi as a team-mate. So for me, it would be fantastic.

"And for sure if I can be at the same level as him or even faster, that will improve my skills as a rider."
But is there a realistic chance it could happen?

“For me, it's clear that it's a real chance. It's the only factory available, and he will be more than welcome, we will treat him very well here," 

The high praise from one of the more outspoken riders on the MotoGP grid was welcomed by Dovizioso himself, though he stopped short of giving any clue as to whether Aprilia could be an option for a race ride in 2021. 

"I like when some other riders speak in a good way about you. Thank you for that. About Aprilia, it doesn’t change if Aleix has a good feeling with me. We will see about my future. At this moment I don’t have anything really clear."