The Gresini Aprilia Racing team have finally confirmed what we have all known for some time. Stefan Bradl is to remain with the factory Aprilia team for 2016 alongside Alvaro Bautista, while Sam Lowes is to join Aprilia on a three-year deal, the first of which will be spent trying to win the Moto2 championship on a Kalex.
The signing of Bradl comes as no surprise. The German has done exceptionally well on the RS-GP since joining Aprilia at Indianapolis after the collapse of Forward Racing. At 25, and with experience on both the Honda RC213V and the Open class Yamaha, he provides an excellent basis for the ongoing development of Aprilia's new prototype MotoGP bike set to see its first outing on the track at Sepang next year. Bradl is in a prime position to be the rider Aprilia puts its faith in for the future.
Lowes, meanwhile, will spend another year in Moto2, trying to win the world championship. Lowes has excelled on the Speed Up, far outperforming any other rider on the chassis, having made good progression in his second year in the class. Lowes has the opportunity to become the first rider in history to win a championship in both Grand Prix and World Superbike racing, having already wrapped up the World Supersport title in 2013.
After 2016, Lowes will then move up to the factory Aprilia squad - run by Gresini - in MotoGP for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In preparation for that, Lowes will have a series of tests on the Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP bike through the 2016 season. Lowes will get to ride the Aprilia on ten occasions in 2016 at a test.
The signing of Lowes means that Xavier Simeon is without a ride for 2016, but as a Moto2 race winner this season, Simeon should be able to find a suitable replacement. For 2017, with Lowes moving to MotoGP, the Englishman is likely to replace Alvaro Bautista, Aprilia more interested in having two younger riders on the new project than Bautista, who by that time will be 32 years old.
The press releases from Aprilia and Gresini announcing the deals appear below:
STEFAN BRADL AND ALVARO BAUTISTA WITH APRILIA IN MOTOGP FOR 2016
Noale, 22 September 2015 - After an encouraging début this season where he familiarised himself quickly with the RS-GP, Stefan Bradl will be on the track with Aprilia in 2016 as well.
Alongside Alvaro Bautista, the twenty-five year old German rider - Moto2 world champion in 2011 - will ride the Aprilia prototype which will be raced next season with the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.
Born in the Bavarian city of Augsburg on 29 November 1989, Stefan Bradl made his début in the 125cc class of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing in 2005. In 2008 he took two wins and finished the season fourth in the overall standings. In 2010 he moved to Moto2, a category where he was crowned World Champion in 2011 thanks to four wins. His rookie year in MotoGP came in 2012 astride a Honda, a bike which he would race for two more seasons, with a second place finish as his best result in the 2013 United States Grand Prix.
Next season Sam Lowes will also be participating in development of the Aprilia MotoGP prototype as a tester. With Lowes - who will be participating in the 2016 Moto2 championship with Team Gresini - working with Aprilia Racing in the medium-term projects area, the British rider will be able to both develop the MotoGP prototype and get his feet wet with the performance and technical complexity of the highest category in the championship. All of this will lay the groundwork for Sam Lowes' participation in the 2017 MotoGP Championship season with Aprilia.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“Stefan Bradl came on board almost by chance, a result of the circumstances, but his change in bikes this season was a pleasant surprise for me. From the very start we found him to be a methodical and fast rider, extremely precise in his comments and therefore particularly suited for the delicate role of “race tester” that our rookie season requires. Precisely for this reason we wanted to continue working with him and now it's official. Stefan will work alongside Alvaro Bautista who will be in his second year with Aprilia. In this 2015 season Alvaro is providing a fundamental contribution to development of the RS-GP. With Alvaro and Stefan we have two excellent riders on our team with the right skills, professionalism and motivation to grow the Aprilia MotoGP project. For the work that will be done at Noale and by the test team we'll also be able to count on the contribution of a fast young rider like Sam Lowes who, along with his commitment in the Moto2 championship, will be working as our official tester."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“I'm pleased that Stefan will be staying with us next season. He has contributed a lot to Aprilia Racing and the entire team in developing our MotoGP project. The work he is doing now is important and it will be even more important next season when we'll have a completely new bike to develop. This makes up a great team, with Bradl and Bautista, fast riders, young but with a lot of MotoGP experience, both able to drive the entire team to find the best possible performance.”
“I am really thankful for the great opportunity that Aprilia Racing Team Gresini gave me in the second half of the season. I would like to thank Romano Albesiano and Fausto Gresini for believing in me. At my first Grand Prix with Aprilia in Indianapolis I immediately felt really welcome by the whole team, I cannot really describe how professional everybody works in the team. I can say without a doubt that Aprilia is the best team I have raced with since starting my World Championship career. I have great support from my technical crew. I could tell from the first day that they really believe in me and I like the way they prepare and plan every session. Signing for 2016 gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races and it is great motivation to prepare for next season as best as possible. I know Aprilia has high expectations and I am confident that we have what it takes to be a consistent top ten contender for 2016. This must be our goal.”
SAM LOWES JOINS TEAM FEDERAL OIL GRESINI MOTO2 FOR 2016 SEASON
Federal Oil and Gresini Racing have renewed their partnership, started back in 2012, and they will be racing together again in the 2016 Moto2 World Championship: next year, the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 will line up British rider Sam Lowes aboard a 2016 Kalex machine.
Sam Lowes, born on September 14th, 1990 in Lincoln (UK), was crowned Supersport World Champion in 2013 thanks to 6 wins and a total of 11 podium finishes out of 12 races. In 2014 Lowes made his debut in the Moto2 World Championship, collecting a fifth place in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island as best result. Last April, in the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin, the British rider scored his first win in the series.
For Federal Oil, market leader in lubricants for motorcycles in Indonesia - a country with an expanding motorcycling market for motorcycles and where MotoGP enjoys a tremendous interest from the media and the fans - the project will continue to be a powerful marketing tool to acquire reputation on the global stage in a particularly strategic period, in which the company is landing in specific markets.
“I am really looking forward to joining Team Federal Oil Gresini in Moto2 next season. I believe that I have the potential to win the championship and the team’s strong racing pedigree will hopefully provide the support I need to claim the title. 2016 will be my last year in Moto2 before stepping up to MotoGP and I am determined to try to leave the series as World Champion. I know my fans were keen to see me contest the championship on a Kalex and the move to Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 enables me to do that. I’ll be working hard with the new team over the winter to build strong relationships with the new team and ensure that I fully understand the bike. I feel that I have matured as a rider over the 2015 race season and hope to be able to use the learnings I’ve made to approach this fresh challenge and emerge victorious”.
PATRICK ADHIATMADJA (Presidente e CEO Federal Oil)
“We are happy and proud to continue to support Gresini Racing, a highly professional team with which we established a very good working relationship over the years. For the 2016 season, we set ourselves very ambitious goals together with Sam Lowes: this will ensure a great exposure to the Federal Oil brand and this will also be reflected in increased consumer confidence towards our products. In Indonesia an increasingly number of fans is following us closely, so we hope to be able to repay this great enthusiasm. We would like to thank Xavier Siméon for the beautiful podium finishes in these two years together”.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to continue the important project in the Moto2 World Championship together with Federal Oil: in 2016 we will face our fifth season together in an extremely hard fought category. We are preparing to do so in the best possible way, setting ourselves ambitious goals: we will count on an eccellent technical package, with a brand new 2016 Kalex, and we will line up Sam Lowes, a talented rider who is proving to have all it takes to fight at the top. Last July at Sachsenring with Siméon we gave to Federal Oil the first win in Moto2: we will continue to do our best to close in a good way the 2015 season and we would like to thank Xavier for his hard work and for the good results obtained together. We wish him to get the satisfaction he deserves in the future”.