Aprilia has confirmed it has signed outgoing Suzuki rider Aleix Espargaro for the next two MotoGP seasons.
The Spaniard joined Suzuki when it returned to MotoGP in 2015, and its rapid recruitment of Andrea Iannone to replace the Yamaha-bound Maverick Vinales did not sit well with Espargaro.
Suzuki last week completed its line-up for 2016 by signing Moto2 title contender Alex Rins. Espargaro’s move to Aprilia was expected to be announced on Thursday on the eve of the Dutch TT but it eventually arrived after Sunday’s race. He will partner Briton Sam Lowes, who is third in the Moto2 standings.
The decision leaves current Aprilia riders Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista both looking for new employment.
2017 MOTOGP GRID SO FAR:
Yamaha: Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales
Honda: Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa
Ducati: Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso
Suzuki: Andrea Iannone, Alex Rins
KTM: Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro
Aprilia: Sam Lowes, Aleix Espargaro
Tech3 Yamaha: Jonas Folger, TBA
LCR Honda: Cal Crutchlow
Yet to announce riders: Marc VDS, Pramac Ducati, Avintia Ducati, Aspar Ducati