Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro will have a new crew chief at this weekend's Misano MotoGP round.

Pietro Caprara, technical director and crew chief at the Sky VR46 team before joining Aprilia, is to take over from Marcus Eschenbacher for the remainder of the season.

Eschenbacher is moving to KTM next year, where he is expected to work with Johann Zarco.

The decision to replace Eschenbacher early might be based upon the chance to trial Caprara for the full 2019 crew chief position and/or freeze Eschenbacher from development of next year's RS-GP, which will continue with two days of private testing next week.

KTM and Aprilia are currently locked in a battle to avoid being last in the constructors' championship, with the Austrian factory 14-points ahead with seven rounds to go.

Espargaro matched Aprilia's best four-stroke MotoGP result with a pair of sixth places last season but, largely due to technical problems, has only scored points in four races so far this year (best of ninth).

"I am motivated for the Misano race; it is the home race for Aprilia and everyone wants to do their best," Espargaro said. "In the test a few weeks ago we went well, we know we have to work because the results at the moment are not what we expect.

"Precisely for this reason we will also be on track on Monday and Tuesday, to continue the development of the RS-GP."

The Spaniard is 18th in the world championship with team-mate Scott Redding, who will be replaced by Andrea Iannone next season, in 20th.

"I like the Misano circuit and the test a couple weeks ago was rather positive," said Redding, who had been due to race a new Aprilia engine in the cancelled Silverstone race.

"It's always great to race in Italy, both because of the special atmosphere and because of the passionate and friendly fans.

"The track layout will be demanding for the characteristics of our bike. We'll need to work well throughout the weekend in order to be ready for the race."