Latest News

At Home With Scott Jones: Laguna Seca WSBK Photos, Part 1


Nicky Hayden is home again. Pity the Honda hates hills


Eyes of the champ


Ducati - Fast by Akrapovic. The Slovenian exhaust maker had a big hand in making the Panigale more manageable


Best looking bike on the grid? The Yamaha R1 is definitely a contender


The difference between MotoGP and WSBK is that in WSBK, they keep the tech porn on display


Jordi Torres has not made the progress he had hoped for in 2016


Can Chaz Challenge The Champ?


Goin' back to Cali


These boots are made for winning


Hard on the gas out of the final corner


Tom Sykes seems to get stronger every race


The Corkscrew is cute, but Turn 1 separates the men from the boys


Shocking


Davide Giugliano's Ducati Panigale R - the seat everyone is chasing ...


... especially Xavi Fores. The Spaniard has been very impressive after switching from the IDM championship


Ambition burns as brightly as ever for Nicky Hayden


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

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Ducati & Aprilia Complete Two-Day MotoGP Test At Misano

Aprilia and Ducati have wrapped up their two-day private test at Misano. The Italian factories had a grand total of three riders out on track, with Casey Stoner riding the Ducati Desmosedici GP, and Sam Lowes and Mike Di Meglio riding the Aprilia RS-GP.

Testing continued as it started on Wednesday, with Stoner giving the GP16 a proper run out, working in the main on chassis and electronics. The test was private, and no times were recorded, but paddock gossip believes Stoner was quick straight out of the box, posting times which matched those of the factory riders. Though Stoner did not speak to the media, Ducati did issue a press release with a statement from the Australian, shown below. Stoner will now stay on for the World Ducati Week, which starts this weekend at Misano.

At Aprilia, while Mike Di Meglio got on with developing the 2016 Aprilia RS-GP, testing chassis and electronics, Sam Lowes had another day on last year's RS-GP. The process of adapting went well, Lowes quickly growing accustomed to the feel and the power of the bike. In a statement in the official press release, Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano declared himself more than satisifed with the pace of Lowes, and the level of his feedback. 

The press releases from Ducati and Aprilia appear below, after  the photo supplied by Ducati Corse:


CASEY STONER

Misano World Circuit, 30th June 2016:

“We’ve had a very positive test, this being my first time on a European track since 2012 and my first time in Misano since 2011. It’s been a long time and it’s really nice to ride these European-style tracks again and get a feel for what a bike is for basically 70 or 80 percent of the season. Everything we have done has been very positive, we got 95% of our test done over these two days so it’s been very good. We got some direction with Michelin and were able to get a bit of direction between the chassis’ and the electronics etc. I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes from this for the next stages and also what the factory riders really think of the steps we’ve been able to make. The next few days are going to be really interesting. I haven’t been to World Ducati Week for a long time! It’s hard to remember what it was like back then, but now I’m looking forward to the whole weekend and seeing so many fans, everyone who turns up, the amount of bikes. The 90th anniversary of Ducati is such a big celebration and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”


SAM LOWES ASTRIDE AN APRILIA RS-GP FOR THE FIRST TIME

TWO DAYS OF TESTING FOR THE YOUNG ENGLISH RIDER WHO WILL BE ON THE TRACK IN THE 2017 MOTOGP CHAMPIONSHIP

ROMANO ALBESIANO: "IT COULD NOT HAVE STARTED BETTER"

Sam Lowes tested the Aprilia RS-GP for the first time in view of his début in the Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing premier category for the 2017 season. He got the chance at Misano, during a two-day test conducted by the Aprilia test team on the Romagnolo circuit.

Sam came to grips with the RS-GP straight away on Wednesday morning. The very first outing lasted two laps, just long enough to have his first taste of a MotoGP bike's power, the carbon brakes, the electronics package that manages the V4 and naturally the Michelin tyres. Then the excursions got longer and by the end of the day Sam had logged 60 laps.

On the second day he continued getting to know a bike that is very different from the Team Gresini Kalex he rides in the battle for the Moto2 title this season. At the end of the day, with 69 laps on the sheets for the second day, everyone was satisfied and it was farewell until the next tests.

Test rider, Mike Di Meglio, was also on the track at Misano, continuing development of the RS-GP after the excellent work that Bautista and Bradl, the official riders, demonstrated in the last two championship races at Barcelona and Assen. The new features that were tested involved primarily new chassis components and electronics management strategies.

ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER

“It went well. I'd say that we could not have had a better start. Sam got on a bike that he had never seen before, having to deal with a series of new features that range from the available power to the carbon brakes. He was at ease straight away and he also proved to be very analytical and precise in the indications he gave the team, as well as with his work method. Naturally, we were not looking at times, but even from this point of view we are quite pleased with these two days. We continued the RS-GP development programme with Mike, focusing specifically on the new chassis parts and working on the electronics, especially in terms of torque output. We will obviously be taking every solution that proved to be effective to the races straight away”.

SAM LOWES

“My first laps on the Aprilia RS-GP were an experience that I'll never forget. When I twisted the throttle the speed I could feel was incredible. It was a brilliant feeling. On the second run, I had already begun to manage the power better and I tried to understand how to take the best advantage of it. There were a lot of new things to discover and they all astonished me. The first ones were definitely the power and speed, and then the carbon brakes. The third is the seamless gearbox, which is really incredible, and the fourth is obviously the electronics, which I felt comfortable with straight away. And then the RS-GP surprised me with an agility that I hadn't expected, so much that the night before the test I was quite nervous because I was imagining a much harder bike to ride, but that's not at all the way it was, although nothing is easy on a MotoGP bike. Last, but not least, I want to emphasise how comfortable I felt working with the entire team. In short, it just went really well”.

Lowes and Stoner Start Two-Day Test at Misano

Aprilia and Ducati had their first day of a two-day test at Misano on Wednesday, with two big-name riders. Casey Stoner returned to action with Ducati, testing the Desmosedici GP (as the 2016 bike is officially known), as part of Ducati's official test team. For Aprilia, Sam Lowes got his first taste of the RS-GP, testing the MotoGP bike alongside Aprilia's official test rider Mike Di Meglio.

As this is a private test, no information regarding lap times was available, and Ducati were keeping very quiet on exactly what they are testing. From Casey Stoner's Twitter feed, we know that he was testing the GP16, though exactly what he was testing is unknown. Stoner did post the following video on Twitter:

As for Sam Lowes, the Gresini Moto2 rider spent his day riding the 2015 version of the Aprilia RS-GP. This was the Englishman's first time out on a MotoGP bike, so his primary focus was gaining an understanding of the Michelin tires and carbon brakes, rather than testing the latest machinery. Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano was pleased with how well Lowes had adjusted to a MotoGP bike, telling Italian website GPOne: "This morning it was impressive to see how quickly he adapted to the new bike and at the same time I was struck by the great methodology with which he took on the various issues." No lap times were released, but paddock rumor suggest that Lowes was much quicker than expected.

While Lowes worked on learning to ride a MotoGP bike, the real work of development fell on the shoulders of Mike Di Meglio. The Frenchman did short runs in sweltering heat to test new chassis components for the 2016 bike, but focused especially on the electronics, according to GPOne. Electronics is one area where Aprilia have struggled, making the switch from their own proprietary software to the spec software this year.

Lowes, too, posted updates to his social media stream, including the following photo on Instagram:

 

Scott Jones Shoots Assen - Part 3, Race Day


It's called a "shoey" apparently. Though why anyone would want to consume alcohol from their footwear is a mystery in the Northern Hemisphere


Torrential rain meant a MotoGP race cut short


What victory looks like - Pecco Bagnaia celebrates his first win in Moto3


That will probably buff right out


Assen was not so much a flag-to-flag race, as a red-light-to-red-light race


The Ducatis reigned supreme in the wet. Well, almost


Now that's what I call monsoon conditions


Post-crash rituals: step 1 - argue with a marshall


Never give up


Jack Miller leads Marc Marquez, all the way to the line


Second place, but celebrating it like a victory. Marquez took a big step forward in the championship at Assen


The Moto3 freight train never gets old


A victory has been a long time coming for Takaaki Nakagami. He took his first with style


A message from the junkies


Brad Binder had a lucky escape from a bad mistake. Lost ground, but still scored a lot of points


Belgian beer billionaire Marc van der Straten, making dreams come true


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

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Scott Jones Shoots Assen - Part 2


Rain. At Assen. Who would have thought?


A good way of getting pole: follow a fast rider


Determination. Not enough to save Dani Pedrosa's weekend


Last minute instructions to Yonny Hernandez


Moto3 freight train


Aleix Espargaro and crew chief Tom O'Kane, a strong partnership in Suzuki


Marc Marquez had plenty to think about on Saturday


Marshalls, the true heroes of motorcycle racing. Going above and beyond the call of duty


When you're 30 hp down, wet conditions are a boon.


46, still fast at 37


Whoops. Aron Canet crashed at the GT chicane, taking out Juanfran Guevara in the process


There was a lot of this about on both Saturday and Sunday

https://motogpmatters.smugmug.com/MotoGP/2016/MotoGP-2016-Round-8-Assen/...

 

What victory looks like - Pecco Bagnaia celebrates his first win in Moto3

 


Did anyone bring an umbrella?


In a factory team, riders have someone to hold the handlebars and make "vroom, vroom" noises for them


If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

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Aleix Espargaro Confirmed at Aprilia For 2017 and 2018

The last of the factory seats has been officially filled. Today, the Gresini Aprilia team announced that Aleix Espargaro will be joining Sam Lowes at Aprilia for the next two seasons.

The announcement did not come as a surprise. Rumors had emerged at Barcelona that Espargaro would be going to Aprilia, Espargaro telling the media on Friday that he had already signed a contract, but that he was unable to announce who with.

Espargaro's signing leaves both Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista out of a job. Bautista is expected to sign with the Aspar Ducati team for 2017, where he is likely to partner with Eugene Laverty, while Stefan Bradl is being linked to several rides in the World Superbike paddock.

Below is the official press release announcing the news:


ALEIX ESPARGARÓ TO JOIN APRILIA

Aleix Espargaró, Spanish rider born in Granollers on 30 July 1989, will ride an Aprilia RS-GP in the MotoGP World Championship. The agreement signed with Aprilia Racing is for two years, covering the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Bringing Espargaró on board is part of Aprilia's development plan - which aims for an increase in competitiveness, in line with the progress already demonstrated this year - and it reaffirms the Piaggio Group's commitment to an excellent technological and sport project aimed at making the Aprilia brand a protagonist on the track and on the road.

Aleix Espargaró was the Spanish champion in the 125 category in 2004. After a series of placements in the 125 and 250 categories, in 2009 he made his début in the top class where he drew attention during the 2012 season astride the ART (the CRT bike developed by Aprilia Racing), finishing the season as the best rider in the category. This excellent result was repeated the next season as well, again on the ART - Aprilia Racing bike. Overall, in MotoGP, he has taken two pole positions and a podium finish, as well as seventh place in the rider standings (his personal best) for the 2014 championship season.

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Scott Jones Shoots Assen - a Photo Selection


Here today, gone tomorrow


Surgery scars. Marc Marquez shows off the ones he had from breaking bones in his fingers


Maverick Viñales. Or Spiderman?


Riders love their dogs.


Dani Pedrosa is struggling at Assen. Badly.


Cal Crutchlow is finally getting his season on track


Bradley Smith does the racer's stare


Dangerous Dovi - a factor at Assen


Early morning exercises for the Yamahas


Perfect on the right, a little graining on the left. The disadvantage of a symmetric front slick


#44 is flying at Assen


Close formation into the hairpin


The bike follows your eyes


Pre-practice stretching


Eugene Laverty looks set to stay at Aspar for next year


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Grand Prix Commission Bans Winglets in MotoGP From 2017 Season

Winglets are to be banned in all three MotoGP classes from 2017 onwards. At Assen, the Grand Prix Commission met and decided on an outright ban on aerodynamic wings, after the MSMA had failed to reach an agreement among all manufacturers on a joint proposal.

There has been much discussion of winglets over the past few months, as they have taken on an ever greater importance. With the introduction of the common ECU software, winglets were one way of reducing the amount of wheelie MotoGP bikes had. But as the factories - and especially Ducati - gained more experience with winglets, the winglets grew larger, raising safety concerns over the effect of an impact during a crash.

Action had been expected to be taken at the previous Grand Prix Commission meeting in Mugello, but the parties failed to reach an agreement. Dorna, IRTA and the FIM then presented the MSMA manufacturers with an ultimatum: if the MSMA could produce a unanimous proposal to regulate and restrict the size and extent of the winglets, they would adopt that. If they couldn't then winglets would be banned. With the manufacturers deeply split over winglets, with Honda on one side and Ducati on the other, they could not agree a unanimous proposal.

Whether the outright ban will end the focus on aerodynamics remains to be seen. The focus is likely to shift to the shape and size of fairings to achieve the same effect. The rules will need to be carefully written to define what a winglet actually is, and Ducati have already hinted that they will be searching for loopholes in the rules. "Like in Formula One, we will have to look very carefully at the future rules," Ducati boss Davide Tardozzi told the Italian site GPOne.com.  "Every single word will be important, because everything which is not forbidden will be allowed."

The press release announcing the ban on winglets appears below:


Grand Prix Commission
Assen, 25th. June 2016

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM CEO), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 25th. June at Assen, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

Aerodynamic Wings in the MotoGP Class

The Commission unanimously agreed that, with effect from the 2017, the use of aerodynamic wings in the MotoGP class will be banned. The actual regulation will replicate those for the Moto3 and Moto2 classes where the use of wings is already prohibited.

Wings that comply with current technical regulations may continue to be used for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Post-Race Noise Tests

Since the introduction of four-stroke machinery in all classes, no machine has ever failed the mandatory post-race noise checks. Accordingly, the requirement for the first three machines to be routinely checked after the race is cancelled with immediate effect.

The Technical Director may still decide to carry out noise tests at his discretion.

Moto3 Safety Issues

The Commission gave approval for Honda to, under the supervision of the technical staff, to replace the inlet valve springs on their Moto3 engines. The change will take place during the Sachsenring GP.

Permission was also given to Mahindra to replace the oil ring on one Moto3 engine that was resulting in oil leakage. Again, this will be carried under the supervision of the technical staff.

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Tom Sykes Extends With Kawasaki For Two More Years

The Kawasaki World Superbike line up will remained unchanged for the next two years. On Monday morning, the Kawasaki Racing Team announced they had signed Tom Sykes to another two-year contract for WorldSBK. 

Sykes will line up alongside Jonathan Rea in 2017 and 2018, as he has for this season and last. There had been a lot of speculation that Sykes could jump ship to Ducati, after the Italian factory had handed him a de facto blank check for his signature. Sykes preferred to remain with Kawasaki, however, despite the animosity in the Kawasaki garage between the two riders.

With Sykes and Rea signed to Kawasaki, the focus turns to Ducati. Chaz Davies described his talks with the Italian factory as being at an "advanced" stage, with still a few details left to fill in. Davies had been linked to rides in MotoGP, but the Welshman said he was only interested if he could go with the right support and the right crew around him. The second seat at Ducati is likely to go an Italian rider, though it is uncertain whether that will be current rider Davide Giugliano.

With MotoGP seats filling up, and some riders being left out in the cold - including the two Aprilia riders Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista - Silly Season is likely to start hotting up in the World Superbike championship. There could be more riders heading over from MotoGP to WorldSBK, while existing riders jockey for position to get the remaining strong seats on the grid.

Below is the press release from the Kawasaki team announcing the signing:


Sykes And Kawasaki Racing Team Continue Their Strong Partnership

2013 FIM Superbike World Champion for Kawasaki, Tom Sykes, will continue his successful relationship with KRT and KHI for another two years after making a new agreement with the Japanese factory to be a key member of the overall Ninja ZX-10R racing project, both on and off-track.

Having formed such a successful partnership with Kawasaki in the past few years, culminating in his championship win in 2013, Sykes will continue to be an integral part of the Kawasaki racing and development programme around the awesome Ninja ZX-10R. Tom’s commitment to the Kawasaki cause has been evident ever since he first rode a WorldSBK spec Ninja back in 2010, and he has collected an enviable list of achievements along the way.

Sykes has now taken 30 race wins, and all but one of his 76 career podium finishes, on ZX-10R machines. Tom has also set the second highest ever record of Superpole qualifying wins, which reached 36 at the most recent round in Misano. He has also set 30 fastest laps during WorldSBK races and has been twice a runner-up in the championship, in addition to his headlining success in 2013.

In making a new agreement with Kawasaki’s official squad Tom is now intent on continuing his career at the highest level of production-derived racing, with the most successful WorldSBK team and machine of recent times. Once more Tom will join up alongside his current KRT team-mate Jonathan Rea, who also recently re-signed.

Tom Sykes stated: “I am really excited to have made a further commitment with KRT and KHI. It’s a great feeling to be back with such a great team for another two years. We have already shown the capabilities of the latest model Ninja ZX-10R this season and there is a lot of potential still to come from the bike. I think it is safe to say that we have the best all-round package in the FIM Superbike World Championship and I would like to thank KHI for showing their continued commitment to me as a rider. As well as the bike and the on-track performance I have been part of the Kawasaki family for seven years so it was really natural to continue that relationship. To carry on working with my dedicated crew - Marcel, Danilo, Mattia, Raul, Tambu and Ruben and all my other valued colleagues and friends in the team - was priceless as they are widely recognised as the pick of the crop in the WorldSBK paddock. I get so much support from the brilliant fans and passionate Kawasaki owners that it was also a positive decision to make to remain part of that. Another important thing is to continue the development programme, for the road bike and the race bike side of things, which is something I feel an integral part of. The technical aspect of working with the team and KHI is deeply satisfying to me, not just the successes on track.”

Steve Guttridge, Racing Manager Kawasaki Europe, stated: “Tom has grown up inside our Kawasaki WorldSBK projects as have Kawasaki with Tom Sykes. The combination of Tom and his crew chief Marcel Duinker and data engineer Danilo Casonato, along with a great team of staff around them, has been invaluable to our Ninja ZX-10R's success and overall model feedback over the past several seasons. Both sides obviously value their relationship dearly and the continued potential of that relationship into the future. Given all of these things we are obviously very happy that we can look to the next two seasons with Tom.”

Guim Roda, KRT Team Manager, stated: “Tom signing for two more years with Kawasaki is a very nice point to continue our project from, while also developing the latest Ninja ZX-10R until 2018. This is a part of Kawasaki’s strategy - to have two top riders inside KRT project - and now we can say proudly that we still have the two best riders in the WorldSBK championship. It has been a longer negotiation with Tom because he has been with Kawasaki for seven years - two with PBM and five with KRT - and there’s always some private and personal points we have to respect when a rider thinks about taking such a important decision. Tom always said from the beginning his first wish was to continue in the Kawasaki family, so we are happy he can trust in the new ZX-10R and KRT staff to get what he expects. I personally think that the best of Tom Sykes is yet to come. The level of competitiveness from KRT will be high and we will increase this even more, so I’m sure other manufacturers will have a tough job for the next two years.”

Ichiro Yoda, KRT Senior Engineer, stated: “I have been involved for many years in racing activities, since 1980, and I know how difficult it is to have a rider motivated and convinced to stay for a nine years with a brand. We have given Tom the option to think calmly and we are very happy that he has decided his future is with Kawasaki and KRT. His value as a rider has been proved through many years. He has been now, for five years, in the top two or three in the world. This is not easy to do. His experience and sensitive riding style gives us good direction on the points to take care of to improve the Ninja ZX-10R in the next two years. I am personally very happy to again have two great riders in KRT.”


The final word goes to Mr. Yuji Horiuchi, General Manager of R&D Division, Motorcycle & Engine Company KHI, who stated: “To have not one but two WorldSBK Champions in our team is a considerable achievement. We are happy that the valuable work Tom has already done on the development of the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R and his enviable technical ability can continue to benefit us for the next two seasons and that our racing project with KRT has the talent and stability it needs to achieve even greater racing success in the years to come”.

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Alex Rins Confirmed At Suzuki, Aleix Espargaro and Johann Zarco Left Out in the Cold

The next piece in the puzzle which is the 2017 MotoGP grid has fallen into place. As had been widely expected, Alex Rins has signed a two-year deal to race with the factory Ecstar Suzuki team from next year. Rins will line up alongside Andrea Iannone on the Suzuki GSX-RR next season.

Rins had long been favorite to take the second seat at Suzuki, as his profile best suited the Ecstar Suzuki team's strategy of having young rider with potential alongside a fast, more experienced rider to help lead development. When Maverick Viñales left for the Movistar Yamaha team, Rins was the name most touted to take his place.

The surprise came when Suzuki announced they had signed Andrea Iannone immediately after Ducati announced they would be keeping Andrea Dovizioso. The signing of Iannone was the writing on the wall for Aleix Espargaro, as it did not fit with Suzuki's strategy to have two older, more experienced riders. In Barcelona, Espargaro was openly critical of Suzuki's attitude, pointing out that he was not far behind Dani Pedrosa in the championship.

Suzuki Japan are believed to have been hesitant to sign Alex Rins alongside Andrea Iannone, as it means having two brand new riders in the team. They would have preferred to keep Espargaro, as the rider with experience of the bike, to partner the rookie Rins. Davide Brivio was in Japan last week to convince them to let him sign Rins, a mission which has been successful.

Rins' signing also leaves Johann Zarco in limbo. The Frenchman had gone to Japan to test the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP bike, as part of a contract he had signed with the Japanese factory. That contract also included Zarco racing at the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race this year, though it was unclear whether the contract extended beyond the end of this year. After his test in Japan, Zarco canceled his plans to race at Suzuka, which was taken by many that any plans he may have had to ride a Suzuki in 2017 had fallen through. The announcement that Alex Rins was signed to the factory team was merely confirmation of that. 

That leaves Zarco looking for a MotoGP ride for 2017. Hervé Poncharal has made it clear that he has a strong interest in Zarco, and is in talks to sign the Frenchman to ride alongside Jonas Folger next year. That deal is not yet signed, however: an announcement is unlikely at Assen, which means that the Sachsenring will be the earliest place a deal could be signed.

As for Aleix Espargaro, the signs are that the Spaniard will end up on the only other factory bike left on the grid. There are strong reports that Espargaro will announce that he will be joining Sam Lowes on the Gresini Aprilia RS-GP for 2017. Lowes, in turn, is due to get his first taste of the Aprilia in a test after Assen. He will be riding last year's version of the bike, though, to allow him to get used to the Michelin tires and the carbon brakes, and generally get the feel of a MotoGP bike.

This is the way the factory teams look after all but one seat has been officially confirmed:

Team/Rider Contract duration
Movistar Yamaha  
Valentino Rossi 2017-2018
Maverick Viñales 2017-2018
   
Repsol Honda  
Dani Pedrosa 2017-2018
Marc Márquez 2017-2018
   
Ecstar Suzuki  
Andrea Iannone 2017-2018
Alex Rins 2017-2018
   
Gresini Aprilia  
Sam Lowes 2017-2018
Unsigned  
   
KTM Factory  
Bradley Smith 2017-2018
Pol Espargaro 2017-2018
   
Factory Ducati  
Jorge Lorenzo 2017-2018
Andrea Dovizioso 2017-2018

Below is the press release announcing that Suzuki have signed Rins to a two-year deal:


ALEX RINS SIGNED FOR TWO YEARS WITH TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR

Team Suzuki Press Office – June 20, 2016; 09:00hrs (CET)/08:00hrs (GMT)

Suzuki Motor Corporation announces the agreement with Alex Rins to become its factory rider for the next two seasons. This defines the Team Suzuki MotoGP rider line-up for 2017 and 2018 with Rins alongside Andrea Iannone aboard the factory GSX-RR.

Alex Rins Navarro was born in Barcelona on the 8th of December 1995 (20 years old) and started to race at the age of seven. His debut in the World Championship was in 2012, at the age of 16 in the Moto3 class. He won his first pole position at the second race of his debut season. He raced in Moto3 for three seasons, collecting a total of eight victories, becoming vice-champion in 2013. In 2015 he stepped up to Moto2, ending his first season in the class with 2nd place overall, winning the Rookie of the Year award after collecting two wins, a total of ten podiums and three pole positions. In 2016 he has already scored two wins and currently leads the points standing after seven rounds.

As a consequence of this new signing, the collaboration between Suzuki and Aleix Espargaró will come to an end after the 2016 MotoGP™ season. All the Suzuki family is extremely grateful to Aleix for his contribution to the growth of the MotoGP™ project and the development of the GSX-RR. Both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR and Suzuki Motor Corporation will continue their unconditional support to Aleix, looking forward to the best possible results in the remaining 2016 MotoGP™ races. Suzuki wishes all the best to Aleix Espargaró for a bright and successful future.

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