Maverick Vinales gets Aprilia debut, MotoGP return for Aragon

Yamaha exile Maverick Vinales returns to the 2021 MotoGP World Championship grid in Aragon after his move to Aprilia is brought forward from 2022

Maverick Vinales - Aprilia Racing

Maverick Vinales will return to the MotoGP grid for this weekend’s Aragon MotoGP after reaching terms to bring his switch to Aprilia Racing forward into 2021.

The Spaniard was due to begin the new chapter of his MotoGP career next season after agreeing with Yamaha to exit his original two-year deal in favour of a split at the end of 2021 following a run of inconsistent form.

However, Vinales’ premature departure from Yamaha last month in the wake of his suspension from the Austrian MotoGP has allowed Aprilia to get their man earlier than planned.

Throwing his leg over the Aprilia RS-GP for the first time this week at Misano, Vinales’ arrival comes after the Italian manufacturer celebrated its first podium of the four-stroke MotoGP era with Aleix Espargaro finishing third in the British MotoGP at Silverstone.

“We are extremely proud to be able to announce our plans for the current season and for 2022 with the goal of optimising the contributions of our three riders to the utmost. 

The arrival of Vinales means Lorenzo Savadori will revert back to a test rider position. The Italian, who got the nod over Bradley Smith to fill the seat vacated by the suspended Andrea Iannone for 2021, has not raced since the Styrian MotoGP following a fiery accident in which he collided wiyth Dani Pedrosa’s stricken KTM.

Albesiano says Savadori will return to the grid before the year is out in a series of wild-cards.

“Alongside our confirmed rider, Aleix, it is our pleasure to welcome a talented athlete like Maverick to the Aprilia Racing team, who demonstrated a great feeling with the team and the bike straight away and who I am confident will be able to give his best as early as the Aragón GP. 

“At the same time, we are also confirming Lorenzo’s role as 2022 test rider. This is a fundamental position that rewards the great efforts he has demonstrated in developing the new RS-GP, whereas he will finish out the 2021 season taking advantage of the wild cards that we’ll decide on together as soon as he is back to 100% fitness."

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