Two weeks on from stating he was “pissed off” at Suzuki’s decision to drop him from its MotoGP team, Andrea Iannone’s mood was much enhanced in Catalonia as he spoke of his belief in Aprilia’s MotoGP project, which he will join in 2019.

After months of speculation regarding his future, Iannone’s switch to the Noale factory was confirmed last Friday - a "special" situation, to use his words, and admitted he had previously spoken at length with Aprilia back in 2016, before eventually joining Suzuki.

The RS-GP is a machine that can be developed and honed into a front-runner, said Iannone, who also stated it was too early to discuss the names of those that would be placed around him on his side of the box next year.

It remains an unknown whether crew chief and fellow Italian Marco Rigamonti, who followed Iannone from Ducati to Suzuki, will make the switch to Aprilia. “We think in the future we’ll have really interesting news,” he stated enigmatically.



“It’s always special when the Italian rider rides an Italian bike,” said Iannone on Thursday. “I live more or less a similar situation with another manufacturer but in this moment I’m really excited. At this moment I talk a lot for a lot of time.

“Me and Aprilia also talked a lot before I came to Suzuki. For many years we talked about this possibility. We found the best way to arrive at this partnership. In any case I’m really happy.

“I believe a lot in this project. It’s a big challenge for me. I’m sure we have a really good situation to recover the gap and arrive at the top. This is the target for both Aprilia and me and for any case we will fight for this.”

Asked for his opinion on the current state of the Aprilia RS-GP, which has struggled for form and with reliability in the first six races, scoring points in only two outings (a tenth in Texas, a ninth at Le Mans), Iannone felt it was too early to speculate on the merits of a machine that is not his.

With 13 races of his Suzuki tenure remaining, the 28-year old instead chose to focus on the recent work of the Japanese factory, and stated his aim for the rest of the year is to secure a debut triumph aboard the GSX-RR - a feat that would make him only the seventh rider in the MotoGP era (2002-present day) to win premier class races on two makes of machine.

“It’s really early to talk about this. In the moment I’m focussed on my bike, on my team, on my manufacturer. It’s correct like this. We have more than half the championship in front. For sure I want to remain focussed to close this championship in the best way possible.

“I hope at the end I win one race with Suzuki. I’ll work a lot and we are always closer to this target. The most important thing is that I have a really good feeling with the bike, with the team.

“Everything is really good. In any case I thank Suzuki for everything, for supporting me from last year and also this year. In any case it’s an important moment of my career with Suzuki. In the championship this year everyone is really close and anything is possible.”

Along with the other five factories, Iannone tested at the Circuit of Catalunya before the Italian Grand Prix. Ending the day eighth fastest, the one-time MotoGP race winner was content with his final time, a feat that bodes well for the weekend ahead.

"It was a really good test for us," he explained. "We were really, really close to Marc and Cal. I tried a race simulation. It wasn’t bad. We know it’s important we improved in some areas. We struggled a little with the front tyres during the race simulation. For sure we focus a lot on this situation."

Iannone was one of the quickest riders across the weekend at Mugello, but, frustratingly, was unable to convert his pace into a podium finish. An aim of his is to make the GSX-RR less exhausting to manhandle in the race’s second half.

“For sure from half race until the end the bike starts to move a lot and it starts to change a little bit the character,” he said. “For sure it’s more difficult to use and ride and remain on the same pace. For sure it’s important we improve this area but with Suzuki we improved and we will see for the future.”


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