On Thursday ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Aprilia confirmed it had re-signed both Espargaro and Maverick Vinales for two more years – with Autosport reporting the story first ahead of time.
This closes weeks of discussions between Espargaro and Aprilia dating back to March’s Indonesian GP, with the Argentina race winner admitting in April that initial talks had left him “sad” as both parties were far apart on terms.
Espargaro, whose new deal is set to be worth around two million euros per year, maintains his “desire” was always to remain with Aprilia for 2023, but had no problems accepting 2022 as his last year in MotoGP had it come to that.
“I was not really looking for other real options,” Espargaro said on Thursday at Mugello. “I said from the beginning my desire was to stay in Aprilia, so it was quite early still to find other options.
“I’m 32, I feel I still have a lot of energy to stay in this paddock, to show my potential.
“But if it was time to leave and try other things, I was happy – and after Argentina even more.
“But finally, I’m very happy and grateful for the opportunity Aprilia give me for the next two years.”
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Aprilia is interested in expanding its roster of bikes for 2023, with Leopard Racing admitting last month that it is keen to take over Suzuki’s grid slots next year and field RS-GPs.
Current Yamaha satellite squad RNF has also been linked to Aprilia for next year.
Asked for an update on its satellite plans for 2023, Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola says its deadline to find a team is “around this time” – but says expanding its presence on the grid is not “something that we have to do”.
“I would like to tell you that the answer is very soon, but in a way it will be very soon if it’s a yes or a no because the deadline we gave is around this time,” Rivola said.
“So, if it’s possible, this is something I’m pushing for, and Aleix is pushing me to do it.
“If it’s not possible then we will continue as we did so far.
“It’s not that it’s something that we have to do, it’s an opportunity for our company to grow, it’s an opportunity to grow the bike, the riders, the engineers. It’s an opportunity, but to make it properly we need to have a yes or no in very few days.”