Last Friday, Aprilia Racing reported it would field two prototypes in the premier-MotoGP class beginning in 2015.
The Piaggio Group-owned Italian manufacturer was slated to return in 2016, but shocked the industry when it reported it would return a year earlier under Gresini Racing management.
One question remained – who would pilot the Aprilia Gresini Racing Team prototypes? One-half of that question was answered Monday when Aprilia reported that Alvaro Bautista will ride one of the prototypes in 2015 MotoGP.
The 29-year-old Spaniard, who currently pilots the GO&FUN Honda Gresini prototype, has signed a two-year contract with Aprilia, set to ride through 2016 MotoGP. Bautista, who earned the 2006 125cc Grand Prix Championship title aboard Aprilia machinery, is in his fifth year of competition in the premier class.
To date, he has amassed three podiums and one pole in the premier class. Across all classes, Bautista has 33 podiums, including 16 wins, and 18 pole positions.
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager, says “This represents another step in defining the team that will take the Aprilia bikes onto the track for the next MotoGP season.
“On Friday we announced our return to the championship with Gresini Racing. Today we have inserted another very important tile in the mosaic by announcing Bautista’s signing. I am particularly satisfied because Alvaro has been confirmed on a team that he already knows well, creating the basis for that rapidity in finding maximum competitiveness that led us to moving up our plans to return to MotoGP.”
Fausto Gresini – manager of Gresini Racing, which signed a four-year contract to manage Aprilia Racing in MotoGP, says “I am happy to be able to continue working with Bautista. Alvaro has significant experience in MotoGP so his contribution will certainly be essential in developing the new projects with Aprilia in the best possible way.
“I believe very much in him and his potential and I am confident that he will be able to bring us the results we are expecting. Also, this two year agreement will allow us to maintain continuity in the bond between Alvaro and Gresini racing which was formed in 2012 and that has been strengthened over the years.”
Bautista also commented on the signing: “I am very happy to have signed an agreement with Aprilia or the next to MotoGP World Championship seasons. Working in close contact with a manufacturer is what I wanted for my future and Aprilia has offered me a great chance.
“I am also very motivated to embark on this new adventure because I am coming back to a brand that has brought me great satisfaction in the past and with which I have shared some great times. Above all, the cooperation between Aprilia Racing and Gresini Racing will allow me to stay on a team that I’ve been racing with already for three years and which has become like a family to me.
“I have worked directly for a manufacturer in the past and I really liked developing a new project together. Knowing that I’ll be able to count on the support of so many engineers and technicians is exciting and I can’t wait to get started working with them.”