Aprilia boss delivers update on Maverick Vinales' future

Who will join Jorge Martin at Aprilia next season?

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

With MotoGP title leader Jorge Martin officially announced as taking over from soon-to-retire Aleix Espargaro, attention now turns to the remaining factory Aprilia seat.

Maverick Vinales has been Espargaro’s team-mate since mid-2021 and, spurred on by his first Aprilia Grand Prix win earlier this season, is currently the top RS-GP rider with sixth place in the standings.

If Vinales succeeds as the first Aprilia team-mate to outshine Espargaro in the final world championship standings, it could mark a fitting handover of the captain’s armband to the #12.

Despite talk of seeking an Italian rider, before Martin’s deal, Vinales staying on for the post-Espargaro era is Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola’s main goal.

“I think the priority is to understand what Maverick wants to do. And then if Maverick wants to stay, I'm the happiest person,” Rivola said shortly after announcing the signing of Martin.

“If Maverick stays, the new ‘Capitano’ will be Maverick,” Rivola added. “Because he fought in a bad period of Aprilia, he brought Aprilia to the top level, and he showed us a different way of riding the bike compared to Aleix.”

As such, the quest for a ‘home’ Italian star has been put on hold, pending Vinales’ decision.

“If Maverick won't be with us - I have to consider also this option – [then] I see many Italian riders very, very strong. But our first priority is not this one.”

Despite his best start to an Aprilia season, Vinales has kept his cards close to his chest about his 2025 intentions.

“I will do what is the best for my career,” Vinales said. “I'm still really fast. I have a lot of speed and after Austin, I see much more clearly the speed I can have when things are in place.

“At the moment my [commitment] is 100% with Aprilia for sure. I'm really concentrating on each weekend, to put in a really nice season ahead.

“But about the future, I still don't know.

“I really think my decision will be just [about] pure performance."

Even if ‘pure performance’ ruled out a switch to Honda, it could still leave Vinales with a potential choice of staying at Aprilia, a satellite Ducati - including Martin's title-leading Pramac seat - or a satellite KTM ride.

Speaking before official confirmation of Martin’s RS-GP deal, Vinales downplayed automatically assuming the role of Aprilia’s new team ‘captain’ next season.

“I don't know my future. I don't know if it will be in Aprilia. But for sure the place of Aleix in Aprilia carries a lot of weight,” Vinales said. 

“Aleix has been many years with Aprilia, I think he carries a lot of weight on his shoulders and did a really good job.”

Espargaro meanwhile looks set for a to-be-confirmed switch to Honda as a test rider for 2025, a move that ‘surprised’ Vinales.

Rivola joked that - having personally helped to promote the Aprilia during the successful negotiations to land Vinales and now Martin - Espargaro could be offered an assistant role!

“For sure he presented Aprilia well [to Vinales and Martin]. It’s how Aleix is, just natural in saying the good things and the bad things,” Rivola added.

“But I like to think that the choice of Aprilia [by Martin] was because Aprilia has consistently grown during these years. We are the only factory that so far won races [this year] as an alternative to his current [Ducati] bike.”

Read More