Is Jorge Lorenzo about to defect from Yamaha to Aprilia for 2021 MotoGP?

Jorge Lorenzo could be on his way out of the Yamaha fold at the end of the season with Aprilia looking to snap up the three-time MotoGP world champion

Jorge Lorenzo could be about to make his second big move in less than 12 months amid reports he is being courted by Aprilia to take on a test and development role for the 2021 MotoGP season.

A year ago the Spaniard announced he would be retiring from racing duties in MotoGP mid-way through a two-year contract with Repsol Honda, only to  pop back up a few weeks later in a development role with Yamaha.

A deal that was supposed to lead to wild-card outings with the manufacturer he won three MotoGP World Championship titles with, that plan was scuppered by Dorna’s decision not to allow wildcard outings when the slimmed 2020 MotoGP season eventually got back underway in July.

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In the meantime, questions have been raised by Yamaha’s MotoGP race riders - most notably Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi - over the decision not to utilise its asset more in private testing, after skipping a mid-season Misano MotoGP outing, suggesting there may be a cooling of relations behind the scenes.

Lorenzo did return to group action during a test at Portimao earlier this month, albeit on a 2019-specification Yamaha M1 and was notably slow, more than five seconds off the pace.

As such, Speedweek.de is reporting Lorenzo will not be factored into the Iwata manufacturer’s plans for 2021, with Aprilia reportedly keen to step in to get the experienced Spaniard on its books.

Andrea Dovizioso to Yamaha for 2021 MotoGP?

It comes after Aprilia’s own surprise change of plans this week when it announced Bradley Smith - who had been deputising for the drugs banned Andrea Iannone in 2020 - was dropped from its line-up for the remainder of the season, to be replaced  by the firm’s other development rider Lorenzo Savadori.

Speedweek is reporting Smith is out of Aprilia altogether for 2021, with Lorenzo potentially being courted as his direct replacement.

Our sister publication Crash.net contacted Aprilia for a comment and it said it wasn’t ‘near’ a deal, but at the same time didn’t deny talks had taken place.

Aprilia is the only team yet to confirm its 2021 MotoGP rider line-up while it waits for a decision on whether Iannone will be permitted to return to racing. If he doesn’t, Cal Crutchlow is one option to potentially take his place but Savadori’s placement in the team for the final three events is seen as an audition for a seat too.

Paddock rumours suggested talks with Andrea Dovizioso broke down over salary, but the aforementioned musical chairs suggest Yamaha might be very keen on securing the Italian - a triple MotoGP runner-up - instead in a development/wild-card role for 2021.
 

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