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Five things we learned about Aprilia's big 2025 MotoGP rider deals

by Simon Patterson
6 min read

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Aprilia has become the latest MotoGP manufacturer to secure its own ‘superteam’ line-up for 2025, adding Marco Bezzecchi alongside Jorge Martin.

They’re former Moto3 title rivals and both mounted title bids on satellite Ducatis last season. But while Martin has stepped up another level in 2024 and currently leads the standings, Bezzecchi has slumped this year.

That was one of the key topics addressed when team principal Massimo Rivola spoke with the media in the wake of the Bezzecchi announcement. Here’s more on that and everything else we learned.

Rivola hopes he’s signed ‘2023 Bezzecchi’

Marco Bezzecchi

This season has really failed to live up to the expectations Bezzecchi’s title-fighting 2024 campaign created.

By now last year he’d racked up two wins. But he’s only scored a single podium so far in 2024 and has perhaps been the biggest indicator of how disadvantaged the 2023 Ducati now seems to be compared to the latest spec.

Or, at least, that’s very much what Aprilia is hoping is the reason for its new signing’s lack of form.

“When a rider one year performs in such a good way but the following year isn’t performing in such a good way, you start wondering if that means not enough talent or if there are some other issues that could come from different parts,” Rivola admitted.

“At the end, my feeling is that the real Bez is the one of last year and not that of this year. I hope that for this year, he keeps the faith, and I trust in his speed and his talent quite a lot.”

What Rivola makes of Vinales' exit

Maverick Vinales

The last time that Rivola spoke to the media was at the Mugello test just minutes after signing Martin. Then he spoke openly about how his next number one desire was to retain Maverick Vinales’ services in the team.

But, with Vinales subsequently announcing he will join KTM satellite squad Tech3 alongside Aprilia’s other 2025 target Enea Bastianini, Rivola didn’t get the element of continuity he’d still hoped for.

He says the team has to both accept and - for the rest of 2024 - try to forget Vinales’ decision not to stick around.

“For sure I’m sorry to lose a talent like Maverick,” Rivola admitted. “I would have liked to see more like Austin [where he won both races] from him, and I’m ready to bet with you that we’ll see more of those until the end of the season. But I respect the decision he took. 

“So far, we have had a very good time together. I don’t want to say he was lost, but he was in a very difficult position at the end of his Yamaha story, and we were struggling at the end of 2021.

“I think that the next 13 races we will see a fighting Maverick and I think and hope that our story together will end in the best way.

“I think he wants to be the only one to win with so many manufacturers, and he has the talent to do it.”

What really impressed Rivola about Bezzecchi

Marco Bezzecchi Buddh 2023

Given he fought for the title last year, it’s not too hard to see why Aprilia moved quickly to snap up Bezzecchi as a future bet.

But, even within his strong performances and three wins of last season, there’s even more that stands out to Rivola about Bezzecchi, even if the other elements do come with some challenges.

“There are characteristics for sure that were quite impressive to me,” the former Ferrari Formula 1 boss explained.

“For sure riding in the wet is one. The other one in particular is that the first time we all went on a track that was new to everyone [Buddh], he won by a big gap.

“There are signs of talent, something that you really see that this guy is something special. 

“You can argue that this year he hasn’t been delivering a good performance, because you can say that Marc Marquez has the same bike and is always fighting for a top position.

“But also sometimes that there are external factors that aren’t just technical that guide performance, and the tricky aspect is to find what aligns the planets.

“Look at Maverick in Austin: he expected to become world champion after but the planets haven’t aligned since.”

How Aprilia got its deals done so quickly

It’s been only a few weeks since it became apparent at the Catalan Grand Prix that Aprilia would need to search for a replacement for Aleix Espargaro next season - and considerably less time since Vinales also revealed his departure and informed his team that it was not one but two new racers it would need to find.

So to already sign not just replacements but the two riders who finished last season in second and third in the championship is very impressive indeed - and comes, Rivola says, thanks to prior planning and preparation having read the MotoGP tea leaves.

“I knew that Mugello was likely to be a sort of deadline for Jorge,” he explained, “and we wanted to be ready to catch him. That was the case. Then Maverick got his decision, and was very fair in telling us in advance.

“So from Mugello until now, not a huge time has passed and the choice of Bezzecchi was clear for us. Let’s say that the pieces went into the right places quite quickly.

“I respect the decision of Maverick, and it’s a bit of a pity but it gave us the chance to have an Italian rider, and such a good one.”

Extra pressure on ‘victim’ Savadori now

Losing both its factory riders next year as Vinales heads to KTM and Espargaro heads into quasi-retirement (but likely as a test rider elsewhere), there’s now a real risk of Aprilia losing some development focus for the future thanks to the disruption inside the factory box.

But, with test rider Lorenzo Savadori very much remaining on board (and counted as one of the most essential parts of the squad despite his low profile), the Italian’s worth has increased - as well as his workload going forward.

“Lorenzo Savadori has been our test rider for many years, and despite it looking like he isn’t really competitive when he does wildcards, I have to say that he is a bit of a victim of us,” Rivola explained of Savadori’s frequent need to sabotage his own race results in order to test.

“To develop, you need to have the attitude to do what is asked by your team and your factory, and so far we have always gone in the right direction.

“For sure, the riding style of Maverick gave us an additional boost, because Aleix has been with us for a lot of time, and for sure having a satellite team was another step forward. Soon there’ll be four 2024 RS-GPs and that’ll be another.

“We think that the engineers in Noale are doing a great job, and we rely on and trust them a lot to do their job. Sure, it’s not enough right now, but it will never be enough!”

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