MotoGP

Aprilia retains Espargaro and Vinales for 2023 MotoGP season

First reported by Autosport ahead of Aprilia’s official confirmation on Thursday afternoon at Mugello on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, Aprilia has renewed both riders for two more years.

Aprilia and Espargaro have been locked in talks for some time over a renewal, with the Spaniard admitting following his historic maiden win at the Argentina Grand Prix that initial discussions had left him “sad”.

Following last week’s French GP, Espargaro admitted he “didn’t know” what was going on at Aprilia in regards to a new deal – though it was always thought both parties would come to terms, given Espargaro is currently just four points off the championship lead after scoring a win and three other podiums.

Having been locked in negotiations since March’s Indonesian GP, it is understood the main sticking point has been money and the policy many manufacturers are taking in trying to reduce big-money salaries in the wake of the COVID crisis.

But Aprilia has agreed a new two-year deal with Espargaro worth around two million euros per year through to the end of the 2024 campaign.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Despite a tough start to the 2022 season as he embarks on his first full-time campaign with Aprilia, Vinales will remain with the marque for next season.

“Maybe it’s not a big news for you that I’m happy that Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales will continue with Aprilia Racing for the next two years,” CEO Massimo Rivola said.

“You know that the ‘Captain’ has been a part of our history for a long time.

“I don’t have any doubt that he brought us where we are now and he will keep pushing with the enthusiasm he brings to the team.

“I’m very happy to continue with Maverick. I trust in his talent and I’m sure he will show to everybody what his potential is.”

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The nine-time MotoGP race winner joined Aprilia from last year’s Aragon GP after an acrimonious split with Yamaha.

Vinales currently sits 13th in the standings on 33 points having scored a best result of seventh in Argentina.

Espargaro’s signing is a key move in a hectic rider market for 2023, which has only been thrown into further chaos by Suzuki’s decision to quit MotoGP at the end of the 2022 campaign.

It is likely 2020 world champion Joan Mir will end up at Honda replacing Pol Espargaro, while Alex Rins has confirmed discussions have been had with Yamaha and KTM.

Aprilia is also open to discussions with independent teams for 2023 over fielding two satellite bikes, with Moto3 title-winning squad Leopard Racing expressing interest in taking over Suzuki’s grid slots next year and partnering with the Italian manufacturer.


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