The majority of MotoGP™ teams and riders plans for the 2021 season have already been made, with a number of big names preparing themselves for their final races with their respective outfits in Portimao.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) will take over from Jorge Lorenzo as Yamaha test rider, while Pol Espargaro’s (Reb Bull KTM Factory Racing) time with KTM comes to an end as he will join up with Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda Team. Elsewhere, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) is set to take some time away from the sport while the likes of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller (both Pramac Racing) will make the jump from their respective satellite teams to the factory sides.
However, with just one round remaining in this season, there is still one seat that lays vacant for next year, Aprilia. Andrea Iannone’s hopes of returning to the fold were dashed following an extension to his ban, and now they're left in a race against time to fill it.
A whole host of names have been linked with the seat, including the likes of Dovizioso along with WorldSBK riders Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty. But now a new name has emerged as the favourite to take over, with crash.net reporting that another superbike rider is in pole position to take over.
Aprilia boss says WorldSBK riders being considered for 2021
“Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola has dropped a veiled hint that the team is considering ‘a WorldSBK rider’ widely assumed to be Chaz Davies to replace the suspended Andrea Iannone for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season,” they say.
“While all factory seats for 2021 have been confirmed, there are three notable out-of-work WorldSBK riders seeking a spot still - Davies, Loris Baz and Eugene Laverty.”
“Of these, Chaz Davies is the most successful in Superbiek (sic) terms and arguably the most intriguing, even if he lacks the MotoGP experience of the aforementioned Baz and Laverty.”
“He has, of course, stepped foot on the MotoGP grid before, albeit 14 years when ago. The Welshman was selected for three substitute starts way back in 2007 with Pramac Ducati.”
“Baz and Laverty, meanwhile, both have MotoGP experience working in their way. Frenchman Loris Baz was the most recent contender in 2017, the last of a three-year stint with Forward Racing and Avintia Ducati that yielded some strong points’ finishes on two-year-old machinery. He has also gone a long way to impressing since his return to WorldSBK, often matching the works’ Yamahas aboard his semi-privateer Ten Kate Racing R1.”
“While Eugene Laverty hasn’t enjoyed the best run of form recently, he also has two seasons of MotoGP under his belt. He also has a good relationship with Aprilia from WorldSBK, finishing runner-up in 2013 to Tom Sykes.”
Crash.net also go on to speak about how Aprilia may decide to promote a rider from the Moto2™ category, with the likes of Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Fabio DiGiannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) top of the queue from the intermediate class, while they also feel that Lorenzo Savadori - “effectively interviewing for the ride right now with his three-race stint on the RS-GP - remains in contention, together with the ousted Bradley Smith.”
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