Andrea Dovizioso to get surprise MotoGP test outing with Aprilia

Andrea Dovizioso will be stepping back on a MotoGP 2021, as Aprilia RSGP test confirmed for Jerez

Andrea Dovizioso, Gigi Dall'Igna, Ducati

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO has revealed he will make a surprise return to MotoGP machinery next month after accepting an invitation from the Aprilia Team Gresini outfit to test its RS-GP.

The Italian has been preparing himself for a season on the sidelines after his successful but fractious relationship with Ducati was brought to an abrupt conclusion at the climax of 2020 with no viable options remaining for him to source a 2021 seat.

MotoGP Motorcycles Specs Comparison 

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To date Dovizioso has been most closely linked to Honda should Marc Marquez be unable to take up his seat as a legacy of injuries sustained last year, while he has also since revealed he regrets not taking up an offer from KTM to join the team in place of Pol Espargaro.

With Aprilia now the only team with concessions to offset its mediocre performances in recent years, it is able to test privately without race riders more flexibly than any of its rivals. As such, Dovizioso will get three days on the Aprilia on April 12-14 at Jerez, which comes after the season opener in Qatar on March 28.

Despite the inevitable buzz set to be generated by the test, Dovizioso - a 14-time race winner and triple MotoGP runner-up - insists it is a one-off with no conditions towards a surprise race return and was simply pleased to be asked for his take on the new RS-GP machine, which will be campaigned by Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori in 2021.

“I was pleased by Aprilia’s interest and when we spoke about the possibility of doing this test, I gladly accepted the invitation to be able to ride a MotoGP bike again and to stay in form, giving the engineers my feedback," Dovizioso said. "I wish to thank Aprilia Racing for this opportunity.”

Is Andrea Dovizioso heading for a 2021 MotoGP Aprilia ride?

Aprilia insists this isn’t ‘trial matrimony’ - which we ‘think’ means it is not testing Dovizioso for a potential ride - but anyone with even a passing interest in motorsport will be familiar with the term ‘never say never’... or, more brazenly, ‘don’t believe everything (anything) they say’.

Ironically, Aprilia was the one team with a seat available following on from the confirmation that Dovizioso wouldn’t be competing with Ducati but while talks took place, the manufacturer’s modest progress coupled with the old stickler of wage demands seemed to nip them in the bud fairly quickly.

However, months have passed and Dovizioso has had time to mull things over a bit, while in the meantime Aprilia came away from pre-season testing with possibly the biggest reason to smile after the most notable step forward of any team over the winter. While it should be noted it has flattered to deceive in previous seasons during testing, the fact it did this in the wake of team manager Fausto Gresini’s passing is quite remarkable.

While Dovizioso is about as measured and coy in the same way Jorge Lorenzo isn’t, it is not an insignificant move by both rider and team to test like this, even more so because it is in-season, over three days and close to the Spanish MotoGP event at Jerez that will provide a very clear comparison between him and the race riders.

Indeed, with promoted test rider Savadori something of a fall-back choice for Aprilia (being rude for a moment) after a catalogue of riders turned down the seat over the winter, one would assume it wouldn’t be too troublesome for the team to bop him back to test riding duties if it stood a chance of getting the most successful Italian rider of recent years instead.

For Dovizioso, if he is indeed getting itchy feet now the bikes are back on track and an impending role as ‘super sub’ doesn’t appeal, then being a storied Italian on an improving Italian bike a year before the manufacturer comes into the series as a proper in-house full factory effort might prove a shrewd move.