MotoGP: Lorenzo Savadori is confirmed as Aleix Espargaro's Aprilia teammate

Lorenzo Savadori has been chosen to partner Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia
Lorenzo Savadori has been chosen to partner Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia

Lorenzo Savadori will make his full-time MotoGP debut this year after being confirmed as Aleix Espargaro’s teammate at Aprilia.

The team’s rider line-up was revealed during its official 2021 bike launch, held at the Losail International circuit in Qatar, ahead of the official tests at the same circuit.

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Savadori rode for Aprilia at the final three rounds of last season, replacing Bradley Smith, however it was revealed during the winter that he and Bradley Smith would both be competing for a spot in this year’s team. A decision wasn’t expected to be made until after the pre-season tests, however this is no longer the case.

The Italian worked alongside Espargaro, who begins his fifth season with Aprilia, at a recent private test at Jerez and his position was confirmed today.

“I would be remiss not to thank Aprilia for this great opportunity,” Savadori said. “I know that I have a lot to learn. It is a demanding category and still new for me. The tests and races last year gave me a chance to begin building confidence with this bike and with these tyres, but it is just a starting point with wide margins for improvement.

“I’ll try to transform the pain generated by the passing of Fausto [Gresini], a person who believed very much in me, into positive energy. His determination and the things he taught me will accompany me in this new stage of my career.”

Savadori won the Italian SBK Championship last year on his Aprilia RSV4, winning six races and securing two second-place finishes in the eight races held. He also won the World Superstock 1000 title in 2015 and spent three seasons in the World Superbike Championship between 2016 and 2018.

“Lorenzo will need to grow and learn a lot, beginning with the circuits,” Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola said. “An extraordinary talent scout like Fausto believed very much in him, so I am confident that he will give his all to repay that trust.”

Savadori will get his first taste of the 2021 RS-GP at tomorrow’s Shakedown Test (March 5). He’s able to take part as Aprilia has kept its concessions for the new season. Savadori will then take part in this weekend’s two-day official test, and next week’s three-day test.

As a result of Savadori’s move into the two-rider line-up, there will be no British rider on the MotoGP grid for the first time since 2010. Cal Crutchlow represented the UK between 2011 and 2020 but retired at the end of last season and is now Yamaha’s test rider. 

The 2021 season, as things stand, will begin at the Losail International Circuit, Qatar, on March 28, followed by round two at the same circuit the following weekend (April 4).