Aprilia hints at Espargaro MotoGP replacement preference

On Thursday ahead of the Catalan Grand Prix, three-time MotoGP race winner Espargaro announced he will be retiring from racing at the end of the season.

This has opened up a prime factory spot on the grid for 2025, which has already been linked to several high-profile names.

In recent weeks, Enea Bastianini’s manager Carlo Pernat has spoken about approaches he has made to Aprilia about signing the five-time MotoGP race winner, who is likely to lose his factory Ducati seat.

Ducati is set to make its final decision on who will get the second factory team seat for 2025 come next week’s Italian GP, with the ride looking to go to either Jorge Martin or Marc Marquez.

While keeping his cards close to his chest, Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola told motogp.com’s live feed at the Catalan GP that the rider market offers some “good opportunities” but hinted towards a preference.

“Next for me is till the very end of the season,” he began when asked what happens next for Aprilia in the wake of Espargaro’s news.

“The very end of the season is the most important part.

“We need to keep him [Espargaro] very focused. I’m sure he will. He will be the captain till the very last day.

“That will be the future for him and then after that we will see. We will not panic about that.

“Now we can start speaking with many managers of riders and I think the market will be quite interesting and offer good opportunities.

“Let’s see if we will get finally an Italian on an Italian bike, or not.

“But I think there will be good opportunities. Obviously taking Aleix’s place will not be easy for anybody, so whoever is coming will have to come very hungry.”


Aprilia, of course, has fielded Italian riders before, with Marco Melandri briefly riding for the squad in its return season in 2015.

In 2019, Andrea Iannone raced for the squad, before his place was taken by Lorenzo Savadori in 2020 after the former was hit with a doping ban.

What next for Espargaro?

Espargaro is now likely to take on a test rider role going into 2025, though has already said at Barcelona that this is unlikely to be with Aprilia.

His manager Albert Valera told motogp.com on the subject:  “Well, it’s still early to say where we are going to go.

“As he said, he would like to do the test rider role.

“He’s very looking forward to new challenges, which means probably enjoying the experience of working with a new manufacturer even though it’s going to be as a test rider and not as an official rider.

“But that’s the role he is looking for and he thought he could face a new challenge but at the same time slow down a little bit.

“So, he understood that could be the test rider role in a new manufacturer.

“We are in some conversations, early still, to understand where he’s going to go or not.

“But he’s in a very high level and I think it’s a very good opportunity for a manufacturer to have a test rider like Aleix.”

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