Aprilia partners with RNF Racing for all-new satellite MotoGP project

Aprilia confirms it will add a satellite team to the MotoGP grid for the first time in 2023 after agreeing a deal to collaborate with RNF Racing

Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia

Aprilia Racing has confirmed it will enter a satellite team in MotoGP for the first time next season in collaboration with RNF Racing.

In what is described as a long-term partnership, the deal will see the Malaysian privateer team switch allegiance from Yamaha just four years after it took over the manufacturer’s satellite operation from Tech 3 Racing.

The surprise announcement ahead of the Noale marque's home Italian MotoGP event in Mugello, comes despite Aprilia attempting to play down talk of potentially expanding to a satellite effort in the wake of Suzuki confirming its exit from MotoGP at the end of the season.

However, just 24 hours after revealing Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will remain with the factory team for the next two seasons, confirmation of an RNF Aprilia effort appears likely to significantly shake up an already fluid rider market.

Riders will be announced at a later date with early speculation pointing towards Tech 3 KTM rider Raul Fernandez and Moto2 title contender Aron Canet as the early front runners.

"We are absolutely thrilled for this long term partnership with Aprilia Racing. Our philosophy remains to work together with the factory team to develop riders that will one day become Aprilia factory riders. We will assist them in development to ensure that we continue to be competitive and ultimately win with Aprilia Racing.

"The proposal by Aprilia Racing fulfils our long term plans, strategies and security for the next two plus two years and I must thank Aprilia Racing for its trust, confidence and faith in us. We are absolutely looking forward to the season next year and this new partnership. At the same time, we want to express our gratitude to Yamaha for these past years working together and growing together.

"We will, though, maintain our focus on working hard this season in order to improve our results together with Yamaha and eventually conclude 2022 on a high note.”