The 2021 MotoGP grid is finally complete. Or complete-ish, anyway. Aprilia have finally made a decision on their second rider for 2021, and their decision is that they will decide after the winter tests at Sepang and Qatar have finished.
Both Lorenzo Savadori and Bradley Smith have been signed for 2021, to fill the roles of second contracted MotoGP rider alongside Aleix Espargaro, and MotoGP test rider. Smith and Savadori will run through the testing program, including private tests and the scheduled official tests at Sepang and Qatar in February and March, and Aprilia will make their decision based on the outcome of that, Aprilia said in a press release.
Aprilia have been forced into this position by their decision to stick with Andrea Iannone throughout his appeals process. Once the Italian lost his appeal against his suspension for doping, Aprilia were forced to look elsewhere, but by that time, there choices were severely limited. Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow had turned down the opportunity. Aprilia had talks with WorldSBK rider Chaz Davies and Joe Roberts, Marco Bezzecchi, and Fabio Di Giannantonio in Moto2. But all those options fell through too, Roberts the last to turn down the Aprilia ride, informing the Italian factory on Sunday night.
The best solution, Aprilia decided, was to continue the project as they had started at the beginning of the year, sticking with their three current riders, and putting one of their test riders in the second seat. Aprilia intend to expand the number of bikes on the grid to 4 in 2022, once the new five-year contract period for factories and teams in MotoGP commences, so doing this opens up perspectives. The idea is to set up a system like Ducati, with a junior satellite team feeding into the factory squad, giving young riders a chance to learn and find their feet in MotoGP.
The MotoGP rider line up for 2021 appears below:
|Monster Energy Yamaha|
|Maverick Viñales||Yamaha M1||2022|
|Fabio Quartararo||Yamaha M1||2022|
|Marc Márquez||Honda RC213V||2024|
|Pol Espargaro||Honda RC213V||2022|
|Alex Rins||Suzuki GSX-RR||2022|
|Joan Mir||Suzuki GSX-RR||2022|
|Jack Miller||Ducati Desmosedici GP21||2021 (option for 2022)|
|Pecco Bagnaia||Ducati Desmosedici GP21||2022|
|Aprilia Racing Team Gresini|
|Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia RS-GP||2022|
|Lorenzo Savadori/Bradley Smith*||Aprilia RS-GP||2022|
|Red Bull KTM Factory Racing|
|Brad Binder||KTM RC16||2021|
|Miguel Oliveira||KTM RC16||2021|
|Red Bull KTM Tech3|
|Danilo Petrucci||KTM RC16||2021|
|Iker Lecuona||KTM RC16||2021|
|Petronas Yamaha SRT|
|Franco Morbidelli||Yamaha M1||2022|
|Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1||2021|
|Jorge Martin||Ducati Desmosedici GP21||2022|
|Johann Zarco||Ducati Desmosedici GP21||2021 (option for 2022)|
|Alex Márquez||Honda RC213V||2022|
|Takaaki Nakagami||Honda RC213V||2022|
|Luca Marini||Ducati GP19||2021|
|Enea Bastianini||Ducati GP19||2021|
* To be decided after preseason testing is complete in February/March