Aprilia has become the sixth and final MotoGP manufacturer to re-sign with Dorna for the next contract cycle, from 2022-2026.

In doing so, it was confirmed that the Italian brand will now participate as an Official manufacturer, meaning it will join its rivals in having its own Factory grid places.

Since 2015, Aprilia has been competing in MotoGP via a partnership with the Independent Gresini team, which comes to an end this year.

Aprilia is yet to finish higher than sixth in a four-stroke MotoGP race, meaning it is the only manufacturer still with access to technical concessions, but lead rider Aleix Espargaro is confident that the 'best yet' 2021 RS-GP is capable of finishing on the podium.

“I am obviously happy about this agreement," said Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO. "From next season, we will be participating as Aprilia Racing Factory Team. This opens up new and hopefully great opportunities and we will need to manage many additional responsibilities.

"It is a natural step that we are taking just as we are beginning to see the first positive signs from the hard work we’ve done in Noale, first and foremost on our structure, and consequently on our beautiful RS-GP bikes.

"At this time, our thoughts and gratitude go to Gresini Racing, who have accompanied us in these years. In heartfelt memory of Fausto, I wish the team and all its staff the best success for the coming seasons.”

Gresini is to continue in MotoGP as an Independent team, is currently 'speaking with several manufacturers' and will announce its 2022 machinery in the next few weeks

Rivola's words suggest it is far from certain that Gresini will be running satellite Aprilias, with Suzuki or Ducati the other rumoured options.