Scott Redding Confirmed At Aprilia For 2018

Aprilia have today confirmed another of the worst-kept secrets in the paddock, announcing that they have signed Scott Redding to replace Sam Lowes in the Gresini Aprilia MotoGP team for the 2018 season. 

The news came as no surprise, after it became apparent that Aprilia had decide to break Lowes' contract at the end of this season. Lowes had been contracted for two seasons in MotoGP, but Aprilia decided to invoke an escape clause after the Englishman had struggled at the start of the season. For the full background to the story, read the Friday MotoGP round up from Austria.

With Redding confirmed at Aprilia, that leaves five seats officially still open for 2018. Most of those seats are close to being filled, however. Aspar is very close to extending their deal with Karel Abraham for another year. The second seat at LCR (if it happens, as that is still not 100% certain) will be filled by Taka Nakagami. 

The seats at Avintia Ducati are also still open, though the list of candidates there is very small. It looks like Hector Barbera and Loris Baz will be out from the team, despite Baz posting some solid results. Tito Rabat is believed to be close to a deal for one of the bikes in the Avintia garage, while there are strong and credible rumors that Xavier Simeon could take the other seat. That would be a surprising move, as Simeon has had a thoroughly nondescript career in Moto2, after a single notable victory at the Sachsenring in 2015. But he is said to have the backing of Belgian TV and several other interests, and be bringing around €1 million to the team.

That leaves only the seat at Marc VDS. Sam Lowes is one rider under discussion for that seat, after he was ousted from Aprilia. Stefan Bradl is also talking to the Marc VDS team, in the hope of returning to MotoGP after a disastrous year in WorldSBK. The choice looks to be between those two riders, though rumors persist of Tom Luthi moving up from Moto2. Luthi seems an unlikely candidate, however, as having two rookies from Moto2 in the team at the same time is a risky step to take. Risky, but not impossible, as Tech 3 has demonstrated this year.

More news is likely to be announced in the next few days. The last few seats in MotoGP should be filled before MotoGP leaves Europe for the flyaways.

Below is the official press release from Aprilia on the deal with Redding:


SCOTT REDDING WITH APRILIA IN MOTOGP FOR 2018
ESPARGARÓ AND REDDING TOGETHER TO FORM A MOTIVATED, WELL-ROUNDED DUO WITH GREAT POTENTIAL
ROMANO ALBESIANO: “HIS TALENT AND THE GROWTH OF THE RS-GP FOR IMPORTANT RESULTS”

British rider Scott Redding will team up with Aleix Espargaró and Aprilia Racing astride an RS-GP in the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager, commented: “Scott is a rider who, in spite of his young age, has significant experience in MotoGP. We are pleased to have him join our project and we think that his talent and the continued growth of the RS-GP will allow the team and him to achieving important results.

Our bike has grown consistently, race after race. The goal to battle stably in the top ten has been more than achieved. And while further steps in technical development are on their way already this season, with this agreement with Scott, we are preparing for next season. Aprilia will be at the starting line with a pair of quality riders that have interesting potential. Aleix is demonstrating more and more that he is a high quality rider and a guarantee for the team. With Scott's contribution, we expect that the team's work will bring Aprilia even closer to the top of the championship, into the positions that such a glorious brand deserves to occupy.

At the same time, we bid Sam Lowes farewell, certainly thanking him for his commitment and efforts during this, his rookie season in MotoGP, and for the contribution he has made to the team's growth. He is a rider who will doubtless be able to express his talent, but right now we must make choices that allow us to fulfil our commitments to the Piaggio Group and our fans. We will continue to work together with the efforts we have always made so that he can have a good season finale and we wish Sam all the best for his career in the future.”

Born in 1993, Scott Redding took his first steps in World Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing astride an Aprilia in the 125 class. In the 2008 season, his rookie year, he took a win at his home GP in Donington Park. In 2010 he moved over to Moto2, where he would remain for four seasons, taking 3 wins and 11 podiums. In MotoGP since 2014, as his best result, he boasts a third place finish at Misano in 2015 and Assen in 2016.

Source: 

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Comments

The whole business with Sam was amateur hour. I don't think Redding is any better of a rider but he is "safer" because he doesn't crash as much. Now for a company as small as Aprilia, struggling for resources, crashing is bad, and crashing on a regular basis without obtaining results is terrible.

Personally, I didn't believe much in Sam from the getgo, but I still think their actions were wrong. They have effectively sabotaged someone's career.

I remember thinking his 1+2 deal with Gresini was a huge mistake because there are too many unknowns in racing. Even bigger names with bigger results failed to gel with certain machines or had fluke years.

To be completely honest I think they had a clear case of buyers remorse. Sam was very promising on a Speed Up, but once he got the Kalex chassis it was a clear sign that the Speed Up was not the only thing holding sam back.

Aprilia expected world class results, and they got a few wins and podiums in Moto2, I think it's then and there they started thinking that Sam might not have been the rider they were hoping him to be.

He seems like a very genuine and likeable person, but he also has the tendency to be very flaky in the way he produces results.

I still think Aprilia should have kept him until the end of his contract, but I don't think he had much of a future in MotoGP.

Total votes: 37

MGP is superlatively tough. Redding is younger, more experienced and for the first time will be in a factory team. Lowes tried hard but crashed,crashed and crashed, session in session out, race in, race out. Aprilia can be trashed, trashed and trashed for their treatment of him but its not a 'kid glove' place to be. Take Stoner in 2006. Crashes, poles, immense race pace on a third tier Honda with third tier Michelins. Any factory effort has to factor the potential scenario, future hence, ruthlessly. Especially in the case of minnows, Aprilia. They sure as hell do not have Red Bull KTM financial clout. Corporate 'axings' of riders are going to become more draconian at a rate of knots. next season. It is of course way too early to be talking about the 'silly season of all season's' 2018 but its trending already. The first half of 2018 may well see the Lowes' dismissal executed within the upper echelon totally eclipsed early 2018 with a Lorenzo dumped by Ducati 'sheepish' announcement. Lorenzo to Suzuki rumours. Rossi pensioned off to manage his own teams. Iannone back to Moto2 to resume battle with Pasini. Olivera to replace Smith at KTM GP. Zarco to Mi factory. Marquez to try and win with two different manufacturers to seal his greatness forever by defeating Dovi head to head on the same bike. (Side note that one...Dovi always seemed more motivated by beating his team mates rather than chasing glory) Lowes' exit is a microcosm of what next year will be in terms of muical chairs. No nationality issues, strictly business for the factory teams. Ask yourself what you would do with any rider were you in the management hot seat before you jump all over Albesinio. Its great to have the Noale factory on the grid and I'm glad Scott got the ride. No doubt he will get the same kit as Aleix next year (contractually I guess) with a much more sorted bike than Sam had to deal with.

Total votes: 31

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the 2019 line-ups of Yamaha, Honda and Ducati factory teams will be exactly the same as they are this year. 

 

Total votes: 11

Hard to imaging Rossi being more than an astronaut by then, and sticking around if he is since this is not NA$CAR (Thank Dog!).  Same for Pedrosa, who is probably one more major injury away from retirement of irrelavance.

Meanwhile the current slim pickings from Moto2 (with Morbidelli already signed) will change to having a crop of probable astronauts in Olivera, Bagnaia, and Márquez; and potentially one or more of Binder, Navarro, Quartararo, and Vierge making the grade.  And let us not forget we might have one of the five best riders to come along in the last quarter century in Mir (whose career to date has a striking resembalance to that of the "teenage son of Graziano Rossi" 20 years before).

Total votes: 16

Doesn't your last sentence sort of undermine your larger point about Lowes/Aprilia? 

Total votes: 18

So was the clause like they could just dump him if they didn't want him? Was there any sort of settlement? Did they have to buy him out?

Total votes: 14

Rider contracts often have escape clauses, and good managers make sure that riders get paid anyway. My understanding is that Lowes will get his second year salary, so he has been properly paid off.

Total votes: 38

At least there's that(?)

thanks David!

Total votes: 16

No offense intended but... I just don't see Scott Redding doing any better than Sam Lowes on the Aprilia.  That being said Sam Lowes will do well no matter where he goes as long as the chemistry is there.  It certainly wasn't at Aprilia.  Motor racing in general is so dependent on the mentality of the rider/driver.  Most people have always thought Andrea Dovizioso was a competent rider nothing more.  This year he keeps saying it's just a couple of small things that have been responsible for his success.  Yes, it's what's between those two small things (his ears) that has made his success.  I'm of the opinion Sam Lowes will make it even if he has to drop back to Moto 2,  Scott Redding maybe, maybe not.

 

Total votes: 18

I understand that Aprilia and Gresini Racing came under pressure for better results from Piaggio but their treatment of Lowes has still been extremely distasteful. (In contrast with Lowes' own statement on the matter, which is a model of professionalism, positivity and generosity. I really hope the Marc VDS seat goes to him.)

It remains to be seen if Redding will do well with Aprilia. He's still young but already understands that MotoGP teams can be hard masters - hopefully the bike will suit him and results will follow. If not, will they dump him after 10 races too?

Finally, Xavier Simeon over Barbera and Baz? That looks like the losingest move ever. Fair enough, satellite teams need all the money they can cobble together and it's not so bad if the rider in question can at least put in a decent performance when fit and the bike's ok (e.g. Abraham, although his record's not exactly stellar either.) But Simeon?? That just seems like a huge insult to talent and meritocracy in racing. Ick. No.

Total votes: 31

in 123 Moto2 starts as MotoGP material?

But I agree, I do not see Simeon as a talented rider being held back by a poor fit with the bike or class (e.g. Folger), especially as he rode two years for Tech3 and they do not seem to miss hidden talent.

Total votes: 9

Whilst it's true that his overall Moto2 record isn't amazing, he did well on the occasions where he was with a top-line team (Gresini) although probably had one or two too many crashes and he does have two European Superstock titles.

Thinking about it the other way around: whilst the racing is currently great and close, not everyone can win and someone has to be 18th, 19th, 20th etc. If you were Tito Rabat, from a racing point of view (money aside) would you rather be 18th in MotoGP, back at the front in Moto2 or maybe in the top five or six in WSB? Winners like winning, but when you get to the top there's a big pinch point where lots of people who've won elsewhere come together and someone has to lose out.

Total votes: 17

Are Gresini still heavily invovled with Aprilia? As it seems that was why Lowes was signed in 2 and then this GP deal.  Don't see much evidence of Fausto there?  Seems either he and Lowes/Burnett fell out or the new people from Aprilia did.  Either way his treatment was bad, but you simply cannot crash that much and be that off the pace and expect anything else.  

Both Lowes crash a hell of a lot and somehow keep rides, for me Sam spent too long on 600's, it ruins your big bike and big bucks career doesn't it Kenan, Muggas, Charpentier, Chambon etc etc.

Total votes: 16

Despite all understandable emotions:

- this is not the business where to keep everybody happy is a top priority. A lot of new talent is stepping up, there is no time and money to waste. No good results might be the end of their motogp project, so maybe they are a little bit desperate.

- the escape was in the contract so everybody knew the possible options

- the result were not good enough

Shareholders and sponsers cried for a change probably. Maybe it is the rider or the teammanager. What would you chose as a teammanager? 

 

 

Total votes: 12

I can actually empathize with Aprilia's decision here. They are the smallest factory in the sport, punching well above their weight and they can't afford below average performers. Lowes is on a better bike than a lot of other riders... There is a decent mix of new bikes, new riders, worse bikes and yet, he fails to beat anyone in the races what so ever. Let's take a look at his season.

Qat: 18 out of 18
Arg: DNF (mechanical)
Ame: DNF (crash)
Spa: 16 out of 17
Fra: 14 out of 15
Ita: 19 out of 20
Cat: 19 out of 19
Ned: DNF (crash)
Ger: DNF (crash)
Cze: 18 out of 20
Aut: 20 out of 20

So, he has finished ahead of a grand total of 5 riders in 11 races, which I will now break down :

1. Stand-in Sylvian Guintoli (in the first of his 3 races, at France)
2. Stand-in Tsuda, in his only race at Jerez
3. Iannone's in Czech republic who had a pitlane crash during bike swap.
4. Barbera in Czech republic who had to make 2 pitstops and was a lap down.
5. Bradley Smith at Mugello by 0.15 seconds

As we can see, the only rider he had beaten legitimately on pace, was Bradley Smith at Mugello. Now yes, I know he doesn't get all the updates at the same time as Aleix, but they started with the same spec of bike at Qatar and even that bike is capable of fighting for top10 places, not linger around at the absolute last place.

To be fair to Lowes, yes, he's a rookie and yes Aprilia didn't treat him as well as they could have and they deserve criticism for it, but you also have to look at the other side and be fair to Aprilia.

What I don't understand is Aprilias decision to sign Redding... surely they could have picked a more promising rider from Moto2 or even Savadori from WSBK? We've seen Redding on 3 different bikes now (Open Honda, Satellite Honda, Satellite Ducati) and he hasn't exactly stood out on either of them (even relative to other riders on the same bike).

Total votes: 22

There's not much to disagree with what has already been said. Bikes in the premier class are scarce. Aprilia and Sam took punts on each other. Sam probably shouldn't be too disappointed if Aprilia is truly this toxic a work environment.

With all other MotoGP teams being aware of the quality of the Aprilia, this takes us to Sam Lowes's next most recent performances: 5th and 4th in Moto2. Is this enough for other MotoGP teams to be intersted?

Aprilia however needs a development rider. Someone with good-to-medium results who has had their arse on machines from a number of different manufacturers. Scott has 1 (proper) year on a Honda and 2 on a Duc with no top ten campaigns. Is this enough? And what else can they attract/afford?

Total votes: 16

Certainly there are better riders out there for Marc VDS? There is a reason Aprilia dumped Lowes, why would anyone think he will do any better on a Honda?

It's easy to shout from the sidelines but man, some of these teams make the most disastrous rider choices.

Total votes: 15

As noted above, there's not much between doing well and doing badly in motogp

I think people have had a very high expectation of Scott, because he did fairly well in the lower classes and hopefully Cal's achievements have dulled that whole 'no British winner since Sheene' pressure that seems to follow all brits into the top class

If he gels at aprilia then regular top tens aren't beyond the realm of possibility, he has after all scored podiums in all classes, and that's got to be a sign of something

Let's see how he gets on, hopefully aprilia don't repeat their mistake of expecting way to much while offering way too little, like they did with Lowes

 

Total votes: 14

I believe Scott has a lot of untapped potential
He has shown some great pace at the very start of weekends from the get go bed fast top3. Then everyone gets faster and Scott stays where he started.
I think aprilia will suit his front end style and the way noile use there tyres maybe heat in the asphalt won't be so much of an issue for him.
I really do like Scott he's old school.
As for same
I don't think he's cut out for mgp
He must be kicking himself for turning down the tech3 ride instead he wanted nothing other than a factory contract.
Too see zarco and co going so well on the yam must be heart breaking.
Let's hope a move to honda vds will be better although itd be great to see bradl get another crack of the whip.

Total votes: 23

Was Lowes ever offered the Tech 3 ride? He was with Gresini in moto2 and the only shot I thought he really had was with Gresini Aprilia? 

Total votes: 13

So much pain for riders with substantial MotoGP experience to go back to Moto2, where unfortunately most of their MotoGP knowledge will get lost. This is why we need the Moto1 class, with 1000cc spec engines and same electronics, _brakes_ and tires as MotoGP.

Total votes: 20

In any industry these days its a simple deal. You fail to deliver corporate profit, you are out on your ear. MotoGP is no exception. The old?.. not so old stalwarts are aware of it. The 30 plus brigade all know their tenure in this game is bloody short with the possible exception of Vale. Factory teams are looking to deliver results for their shareholders. In turn they are looking for riders that can deliver the biggest corporate financial bang for the contracted buck. Its a good thing and yet an ugly thing and ultimately a competition thing. Dog eat dog. Winner gets respite and loser gets culled. I feel for the riders. I really do. Back to Sam. I don't think Aprilia did themselves a favour by signing him and Sam did not do himself a favour by jumping into GP at his age. The age threshold is getting way lower. I'll stick my neck out and say right now that if you don't have at least one GP Junior class title (M3,M2) by age 21, you ain't got the key to MGP.

I watched that 16 year old kid on the Platinum Bay KTM (M3) duking it out in Austria until he crashed with a couple of laps left to win it or bin it. Awesome performance and composure until he dumped it. I forget his name. Believe me, the corporate tallent scouts have not. The younger and more tallented they are, the more they can be exploited by corporate overlords. Bigger bang for the buck. Sam did not fit the mould at Aprilia. First factory ride for Scott..I think he will deliver. He is very physical with a bike and can chuck it around at whim.. Aprilia just need to throw some reliable horsepower at it for 2018 and I think they will be fine.

Total votes: 12

Your point still stands, but he didn't crash - just ran a bit wide and lost a few positions to end up 9th. Great debut anyway.

Total votes: 11

I've witnessed it so often. The impressive debutant or wildcard rider in a top class. Puts on a show for the fans and mixes it up with the regulars who they have no fear of, all race long... until the last lap. 90% of the time they really don't know (rightly so) just what the level of intensity and pace for the final go 'round really is and the fact that they have yet to earn the respect of the other riders on circuit and so their actual finish is a bit of a let down.

 

But of course, the truly good ones... they'll be back. 

Total votes: 8

(26 at the start of this season) seems to have "the key to MGP" - has already earned astronaut status and deserves to keep a ride even if he does not progress to the alien level.

Total votes: 6