Aprilia tries to build her future on the foundation of a present that made everything more difficult. The Covid pandemic disrupted development plans and the Iannone doping affair robbed Noale of one of his passengers. It was the worst situation in the year that the project was revolutionized with the introduction of the new RS-GP. The focus was on collecting miles and collecting information that was missing for external reasons.
Aprilia tried to make amends in the only way possible: by promoting Bradley Smith as a driver and expediting Lorenzo Savadori’s training as a tester. It was undoubtedly a patch job with internal resources, but there were no alternatives.
However, Massimo Rivola now has to plan for the future and tries to do so, albeit with some difficulty, as he has to wait until mid-November for the CAS to make a final decision to understand Iannone’s future.
One of the focal points is the test team, which should consist of two test drivers. The first to be sure is Lorenzo Savadori, who will take part in the last three races of the season to improve his experience.
And the second? Bradley Smith will no longer be part of the team and in Noale they try to sign Jorge Lorenzo. Our colleagues at Speedweek say the agreement is already in place, but to be honest it is not. On the other hand, they are only in the early stages of negotiations.
It goes without saying that it would be an added value to have the Mallorcan on the team, his knowledge of MotoGP (with a past with Yamaha, Ducati and Honda) would be worth gold in order to help develop the RS-GP. Yamaha’s relationship with Lorenzo now seems to have stalled and with Aprilia Jorge could keep riding the bike and help develop the project.
Sure the economic factor will have its own meaning for both sides, but the bosses of Noale want to try to sign the Mallorcan.
With him the test team would be complete and strengthened, but what about the racing team?
We’ll have to wait a little longer whether Iannone, who Aprilia has been waiting for all these months, will be able to get back on his bike at the beginning of 2021, as I said.
In recent weeks, Rivola has made no secret of the fact that there are two alternatives to Andrea: Dovizioso and Crutchlow.
There were contacts with Dovi, but at the moment the chances of an agreement are reduced to almost zero and the rumors that he would like to be a test rider for Yamaha are proof of it. Forming an all-Italian pairing would be a dream for many reasons, but it seems meant to remain.
At this point the possibility of having Cal has grown up again. The Briton has repeatedly expressed his desire to join Aprilia and at this point 90% (if Iannone is not acquitted, that should remain clear) is about to happen.
If that were the case, Noale manufacturer would have Aleix Espargarò, who knows the bike and the team well, and Cal Crutchlow, who could bring information from Honda, as riders. The two Lorenzos, Savadori and Jorge, would instead be the test drivers, one with enormous experience and the other young and with a great willingness to learn.
This is Massimo Rivola’s plan as he seeks to build a solid base for Aprilia to relaunch. In the last few months he has done this by adding new faces to the racing department (also from Formula 1), now he is concentrating on the drivers.
The goal is one thing: to make 2021 the year of a long-awaited turning point …