Aleix Espargaro will remain an Aprilia MotoGP rider for another two seasons after penning a new contract that will keep him with the Italian manufacturer for the 2021 and 2022 MotoGP World Championship seasons.

The Spaniard recently hinted that he was close to signing an extension and has subsequently agreed new terms that will see him remain with the team he first joined back in 2017.

Espargaro’s signing comes ahead of the much delayed 2020 season and thus before the new Aprilia RS-GP has turned a competitive racing wheel. However, the overhauled machine received rave reviews from Espargaro during pre-season testing, saying it is now capable of challenging for the podium.

“I am happy about this confirmation. The human aspect is extremely important for me, and in four seasons, Aprilia has become my second family, so with this contract, which is certainly the most important of my career, they demonstrated that I am at the centre of this project.

“On a technical level, the growth in recent months convinced me, with the arrival of many reinforcements and the début of the 2020 RS-GP, which did so well in the tests. I feel like we need to finish the job we started over the winter. I can’t wait to get back together with my entire team and race with the new bike, to take this project where it deserves to be.”

In what has been a turbulent winter for the Aprilia following the shock drugs suspension for Andrea Iannone, team boss Massimo Rivola is pleased to retain some continuity with Espargaro.

“We wanted Aleix’s confirmation by all means and we are very happy that it arrived. At a rather tumultuous time for the rider market, providing continuity for our project with a rider the calibre of Aleix is essential.

“With him, who we have established as our captain, we have begun an entirely new project, involving new resources and taking a bike that seems to have come out very well onto the track. Now we hope that he will soon take an Aprilia to the top, where it has never been in MotoGP history.”

Though the Aprilia has struggled for regular competitiveness since Espargaro joined its ranks – with a best finish of sixth over the past three seasons – he has largely had the measure of his team-mates in that time; Sam Lowes, Scott Redding and Iannone.