Andrea Iannone Signs with SuzukiDucati Team announced last week that it had renewed Andrea Dovizioso’s contract, the Italian joining three-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo for the 2017/2018 seasons. Following this decision, the question remained – how about the other current Ducati Desmosedici rider, Andrea Iannone?The 26-year-old Italian’s plans remained hush, but this changed on Thursday when Suzuki confirmed it had signed Iannone to the Team Suzuki Ecstar team for 2017/2018 MotoGP. Iannone will fill the vacant seat left by Maverick Vinales, who joins nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.
The other current Suzuki GSX-RR pilot, Aleix Espargaro, has yet to sign a contract for the upcoming season. It’s rumored that current Moto2 pilot Alex Rins is on Suzuki’s radar, which would have Espargaro chasing a contract.Iannone began racing young; at 15-years old, he competed in the 2004 Italian and Spanish Championships. In 2005, he joined the former 125cc two-stroke GP class, winning four races, before moving to Moto2 in 2010. He finished third overall that season, and followed this up with two additional thirds before joining in 2013 the Pramac Racing Ducati Team in MotoGP.He joined the factory Ducati squad in 2015, earning a pole position and three podiums (Qatar, Mugello, Australia), finishing fifth overall.Iannone’s 2016 season started with two DNFs due to crashes, followed by a third in Austin, seventh in Jerez and yet another DNF in France.Speaking of the contract news, Team Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager Davide Brivio says: “We are happy to have enrolled Andrea in our Team for the next two years. He is one of the top riders in MotoGP and he is also very passionate and motivated; which fits into our racing philosophy. Our technical project is continuously improving since our debut in 2015 and we are working hard to make our GSX-RR very competitive so that it can fight consistently close to top and victory as soon as possible.“We wanted a rider that could help Suzuki continue its road to the top. Andrea is a fast rider who has the hunger for success and his riding style could suit our machine’s characteristics, therefore giving us good hopes for a positive partnership. Being in his fourth year in MotoGP he’s also an experienced rider from which the whole Team will benefit.”Photos by Luciano Bianchetto