Aprilia retains Espargaro and Vinales for the 2023 MotoGP season

Aprilia has signed new contracts with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales for the 2023 MotoGP season.

First reported by Motorsport.com ahead of Aprilia’s official confirmation on Thursday afternoon at Mugello on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, Aprilia has renewed both drivers for a further two years.

Aprilia and Espargaro have been in talks for some time over a renewal, with the Spaniard admitting after his historic first victory at the Argentine Grand Prix that initial talks left him “sad”.

After last week’s French GP Espargaro admitted he “didn’t know” what was going on at Aprilia in terms of a new contract – although it was always thought the two sides would get along, given that Espargaro is currently only four points away from the championship. lead after scoring a win and three more podium finishes.

After being locked in negotiations since the Indonesia GP in March, it is understood that the main sticking point has been the money and the policy that many manufacturers are adopting to try to cut big wages in the wake of the COVID crisis.

But Aprilia has agreed a new two-year contract with Espargaro worth around two million euros a year until the end of the 2024 campaign.

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

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

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

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose/ Motorsport footage

“I have no doubt that he got us to where we are now and he will continue to push with the enthusiasm he brings to the team.

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

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

Vinales currently sit 13th in the standings with 33 points after earning a best result of seventh in Argentina.

The signing of Espargaro is a key step in a fraught rider market for 2023, which was only thrown into further chaos by Suzuki’s decision to leave MotoGP at the end of the 2022 campaign.

It is likely that 2020 world champion Joan Mir will end up at Honda as a replacement for Pol Espargaro, while Alex Rins has confirmed talks have taken place with Yamaha and KTM.

Aprilia is also open to talks with independent teams for 2023 about bringing two satellite bikes into service, with Moto3 title-winning team Leopard Racing expressing interest in taking over Suzuki’s grid spots next year and s associated with the Italian manufacturer.

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