Karel Abraham has been retained by Aspar Ducati for the 2018 MotoGP season after impressing the squad on his return to the championship this season.

The Czech rider made his MotoGP comeback this season after a difficult year in World Superbikes in 2016 and has impressed on the aging GP15, the oldest specification of Ducati MotoGP on the grid this year, with seven points finishes, including two top ten results, while he lined up second on the grid in Argentina.

As a result, Abraham looked favourite to be retained by the Pull&Bear Aspar Ducati squad having surpassed expectations and has been rewarded with a one-year deal.

“I am very happy to have re-signed with the Aspar Team and to continue with the same group of people is very important to me,” Abraham said. “I am very happy, I am already looking forward to a new challenge next season but right now I need to concentrate on the rest of this season, which is the most important. As I said, I am very happy, but we have to focus on the here and now.”

Aspar Ducati general manager Jorge Martinez says it was a straightforward decision to re-sign Abraham thanks to his performances so far this season and is confident the Czech rider can continue to make progress in 2018. The team is yet to confirm which specification of Ducati bike Abraham will race next season.

“For the Aspar Team it is a source of satisfaction to renew with Karel Abraham,” Martinez said. “When we signed him last year we felt he could do a good job but the results he have achieved have been a very positive surprise. He has done much better than we expected, right from preseason, and as the races have gone by he has continued to improve and achieve great results.

“We think we can continue to improve with him in the future. It is a simple choice, he is happy with the team and we are happy with him, so we are going to continue in the same way and chase even bigger goals.”

Abraham’s confirmation at Aspar means just three 2018 MotoGP race seats remain officially undecided; both Avintia seats plus the second spot at Marc VDS.