Karel Abraham will switch to Reale Avintia Racing on a two-year deal and with contest the 2019 MotoGP world championship on the GP18-specification Ducati.

The Czech Republic rider made his MotoGP return with the Aspar squad in 2017 after a one-year move into the World Superbike championship with Milwaukee BMW. But with Aspar stepping out of MotoGP from next year, switching its grid slots to the new Sepang-back Petronas Yamaha squad, it left Abraham searching for a move.

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The 28-year-old has landed at Avintia with a two-year contract for the 2019 and 2020 campaigns and will compete on a Ducati GP18 bike next season.

Rumours had been circulating Abraham would be called in to replace Simeon at Avintia, despite the Belgium rider having another year left on his current contract, while Tito Rabat looks set to stay at the team for 2019. Avintia is yet to officially announce its second rider for next season.

Abraham has revealed the deal was signed at Silverstone during the cancelled British MotoGP round last month with input from Ducati chiefs Luigi Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti.

“I’m very happy to continue in MotoGP next year and would like to thanks for this opportunity to Reale Avintia Racing Team,” Abraham said. “We signed in Silverstone because it was very important for me to finalise every detail of the contract in order to get competitive machinery.

“This worked out also thanks to a big help of Luigi Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti from Ducati factory. The important part is, that it will be Ducati GP18 with the newest specification, which has good results from this season.

“Thanks to that I believe, that we will be able to make some really good results and I am already very excited about the next season.”

Raul Romero, team boss and CEO of the Esponsorama-run squad, is thrilled to secure Abraham and is confident he can produce a step up in results equipped with Ducati’s GP18 while also confirming the Spanish team would remain a customer Ducati outfit for two more years.

“I’m very happy to see Karel Abraham joining our team,” Romero said. “He is a hard worker, has won in Moto2, and has a lot of experience in MotoGP and with Ducati.

“I think that with better material and with the work of the whole team, next year Karel will be able to show its true potential. And I’m also happy to announce that we will continue with Ducati for two more seasons.”

Abraham will complete this year for the Aspar-run Angel Nieto run squad looking to build on a difficult campaign with two points finishes from the opening 11 rounds. Abraham has spent the year competing on the two-year old Ducati GP16, while the only other rider on the same specificaiton of bike has been Simeon who is yet to score a point in 2018, with Ducati expected not to run any two-year-old machines on the 2019 MotoGP grid.

As a result, Avintia is set to have two GP18 bikes for next season, while Jack Miller will be the only non-factory rider on a Ducati GP19 by effectively taking Danilo Petrucci's position in the Pramac Ducati squad with the Italian stepping up to the works squad alongside Andrea Dovizioso.

The Czech Republic rider is a former Moto2 race winner and made his MotoGP debut in 2011.

Avintia Ducati has a revised rider line-up for this weekend's Misano round with Rabat out injured following his triple leg fracture at Silverstone, with Simeon switching on to the Spanish rider's GP17 bikes and debutant Christophe Ponsson called up as replacement rider.

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