Gresini boss puts brakes on Max Biaggi Aprilia MotoGP test talk

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini boss Fausto Gresini believes Max Biaggi wouldn't make the best choice for the team as it prepares to debut all-new MotoGP bike

Max Biaggi

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini boss Fausto Gresini says it wouldn’t be the best course of action for the outfit to call upon the services of Max Biaggi for the upcoming MotoGP tests at Sepang.

The team is currently on the hunt for a rider to replace Andrea Iannone in the testing line-up after the Italian was provisionally suspended from competition after testing positive for a banned substance.

With Iannone B sample confirming the results of the first, it is increasingly unlikely Iannone will get a decision on whether he is cleared to compete or receives a longer ban before testing kicks off for Aprilia on February 2-4.

With test rider Bradley Smith promoted to de facto race rider role alongside Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia is looking for another rider to ride a third RS-GP in Malaysia with 48-year old Biaggi among the names being considered.

The 13-time 500GP/MotoGP racer winner exited the series in 2005 but established a successful career in WorldSBK, winning the 2010 and 2012 titles for Aprilia before retiring from full-time competition in 2013.

Still involved in the GP paddock with his Max Racing Team Moto3 operation, Biaggi has nonetheless stayed match fit in his ambassadorial role with Aprilia, leading to speculation he could drum up some positive brand exposure as a stand in for this test.

However, Gresini – who runs Aprilia’s MotoGP effort as a works-backed entry – says that while Biaggi’s presence would make a good story, he doesn’t believe he’s the best person to work through what will be an intensive programme for the new bike if he’s just ‘having fun’.

“It would be really nice to see Max on the Aprilia but it would be a very demanding task for him,” Gresini told GPOne. “His speed and his expertise are beyond dispute, but it’s one thing to ride on the track to have fun, as he is doing, another is to face such an important test on a new bike.”

Lorenzo Savadori lined up for Aprilia MotoGP test role

In addition to Biaggi, recently axed MotoGP rider Karel Abraham has been in touch about assuming the available spot, while former Moto2 and WorldSBK rider Sandro Cortese has also put himself forward as an option.

However, Gresini identifies Lorenzo Savadori as his personal pick. The Italian has a long association with Aprilia from his days competing with the team in WorldSBK between 2016 and 2018.

“In my opinion, the best option is Lorenzo Savadori,” he continued. ”He is a young rider and wants to do well and get involved. He has experience in WorldSBK and knows all the guys on the team, so putting him forward would be easier for everyone.”

Set to race in MotoE this year, Savadori was also supposed to be competing in WorldSBK this season with Pedercini Kawasaki. However, rumours appeal to confirm he has been released from his contract due to financial issues with the team.

Meanwhile, there is still a small chance Iannone would be cleared to take part in the Sepang tests. However, the positive B sample means his rebuttal case doesn’t need to be heard by WADA for six weeks, potentially taking him right up to the opening round in Qatar.

Smith has already been confirmed as riding in place of Iannone for any races he is unable to compete in.