Aprilia eyeing Danilo Petrucci… but only if Iannone loses drugs appeal

Danilo Petrucci could land a MotoGP lifeline at Aprilia Racing but it would hinge on whether Andrea Iannone loses his drugs ban appeal

Danilo Petrucci - Ducati Corse MotoGP

Danilo Petrucci could receive a lifeline from Aprilia Racing to remain on the MotoGP grid in 2021, but only if Andrea Iannone fails to overturn his drugs suspension when it goes to appeal.

The Italian is expected to be dropped from Ducati’s MotoGP line up at the end of the season following the appointment of Jack Miller, though the team is yet to officially confirm whether it will be Petrucci or Andrea Dovizioso that partners him.

Nonetheless, with Dovizioso understood to be close to signing another contract, Petrucci will need to look for new employment in order to remain in the premier class next year.

One such destination could be Aprilia, with Petrucci considered its first back-up choice if it doesn’t have the services of Iannone.

The Italian is currently banned from competition after failing a drugs test during the Malaysian MotoGP round in 2019, with April’s suspension taking him up to mid-way through 2021. However, Iannone has since launched an appeal against the ban, one that could be overturned entirely or even potentially be extended.

The interest is confirmed by current Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro, who says Iannone remains the first choice for the time being.

"What they want in Noale is to renew with Andrea Iannone but the judicial process for his doping case is still open to the TAS,” he told Radio Catalunya. “I still believe that only if there was no discount for Iannone, then 'Petrux' could join the team "

Depending on whether Petrucci wants to wait for Aprilia to make a final decision on Iannone, his other option appears to be staying with Ducati but moving on to the WorldSBK Championship

Aleix Espargaro set to renew with Aprilia

Meanwhile, Espargaro says he is now close to a renewal that will see him remain with Aprilia for at least two more years, though he intimates they may be his final seasons in MotoGP.

“Talks with Aprilia had stalled until a couple of weeks ago but now we are very close to reaching an agreement. I am very happy with Aprilia.

“I do not have many years of career left and I have always said that my biggest desire is that the bike works well and that I can finish with this team. Then if it will be two years of contract or even more it will be all to see."