MotoGP: Aprilia replace Bradley Smith with Lorenzo Savadori for the final three rounds

Aprilia have announced that Lorenzo Savadori will replace Bradley Smith for the final three rounds of the 2020 MotoGP season.

Savadori will make his Grand Prix debut at the Grand Prix of Europe, scheduled to be held in Valencia on November 6-8. The Italian will remain on the grid at the second Valencian race on November 15 and the season finale at Portimão on November 22.

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Smith, a test rider for Aprilia, was promoted into the race team at the beginning of the season following Andrea Iannone’s doping ban – of which a final decision has yet to be made following appeals from both sides. Today’s decision confirms that Iannone will not be returning to action this year – with a final decision expected next month. 

The Brit’s best result of the season so far was 12th at the Andalucia GP, held at Jerez, whilst he accumulated 12 points overall.

“First and foremost, I wish to thank Bradley for his efforts this season,” Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola said. “He took on the unexpected role of factory rider with great dignity and outstanding performance, and his contribution was extremely valuable. Now we are excitedly awaiting Lorenzo’s début.

“This promotion is certainly a reward for his great season as a CIV rider, dominating the Superbike category, but it is also a step of growth for a rider who will be a tester for our RS-GP in 2021 as well. Riding our fledgling project in the race as well will certainly be a step forward for Lorenzo and, therefore, for all of Aprilia Racing.”

Savadori was crowned 2020 Italian SBK Champion, competing on the Aprilia RSV4 for Nuova M2 Racing, after dominating the CIV premier category with six wins and two second places from eight races. The Italian also worked alongside Smith in Aprilia’s test programme at the beginning of the year.

“To say I’m happy would be an understatement and I wish to thank Aprilia Racing straight away for this great opportunity,” Savadori said. “I will be arriving prepared for the event, thanks both to the work done during the tests on the RS-GP and to the CIV season that just ended.

“It was a challenging championship that demanded top form and maximum concentration from me. Now I need to reorganise my thoughts, glean from the kilometres I’ve ridden astride the RS-GP and make sure I’m ready and focused for the first practice session.”

The decision to give Savadori his MotoGP debut could suggest that he’s in the running for a full-time seat with the team next year. However, Smith, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso have all been linked with a 2021 seat at the team.