A year and a half after Andrea Iannone's suspension for failing a doping test, later resulting in a four-year ban, Aprilia's turbulent MotoGP rider line-up looks to have finally been settled with the signing of Maverick Vinales.

If the Iannone saga was thrust upon on Aprilia by circumstances outside of their control, and ultimately denied the factory of a proven MotoGP race winner, their fortune has rebounded in the form of Vinales.

The nine-time race winner looked tied to Yamaha until the end of 2022, but his misery at continued fluctuating form on the M1 hit rock bottom with last place at the Sachsenring and he sought an early exit at the end of this season.

Not only were Aprilia perfectly placed as the only Factory team with a vacancy available for 2022, but when Vinales then left Yamaha with immediate effect following his suspension in Austria, it allowed Vinales to make an early switch to the Noale squad.

Vinales will now make his debut on the RS-GP, the only machine on the current grid yet to win a race, during a private test at Misano next week. There is already speculation that an Aprilia race debut, perhaps as soon as Aragon, will follow.

Pressing Aprilia to sign a big-name such as Vinales has been the factory's lead rider Aleix Espargaro.

Espargaro previously rode alongside good friend Vinales at Suzuki in 2015 and 2016, when Vinales made history with the first win for the GSX-RR, a bike that eventually won the world championship with Joan Mir last season.

"After the last year and a half where we heard many things about my team mate. I’m very happy Aprilia has its top rider," Espargaro said. "I’m very happy he can jump on the RS-GP as soon as possible.

"I’m not happy about what happened with him and Yamaha. But at the same time I’m happy he’s fresh from Yamaha. He can compare both bikes, to help us. No doubt he will be fast straight away. Can’t wait for the test, for his comments. Let’s see how he sees my bike. Well, now, our bike!"

"We talk almost every day, sincerely. We have good relations," Espargaro continued. "We talk about many things. Obviously in the last days we talk a bit more about bikes, about Aprilia. It’s not going to be difficult for him… Our RS-GP 21 is the closest bike to the Forward Yamaha [that Espargaro raced in 2014].

"Maybe he’ll have to adapt, especially to the first touch of the throttle, the connection with the engine. It’s something I’ve worked very hard on over the last two years, with the engine and electronic engineers, to have make it softer but also to have the maximum torque available as soon as possible because I like to feel the torque immediately. I worked very hard on this. He will like this.

"He will have to adapt to the downforce, like I did at beginning of this season, if we compare to the previous Aprilia bikes. But overall, he will feel ok. Also, the test team which he will be with in Misano, I know every single person. It’s a very strong team.

"I’m sure he will be very happy as soon as he jumps on the bike."

And assuming he is happy, Espargaro is confident Vinales will be lining up on the MotoGP grid for Aprilia sooner rather than later.

"I read many things about [KTM test rider] Pedrosa after the race in Austria. Very smart comments about the difference between testing and racing, about how in the race he can understand many different things.

"[Maverick] has to be ready to race. He has all next year. Knowing Maverick as I know him, he’d like to be racing here in Silverstone. If not, let's wait and see the test in Misano.

"But for sure he will try and race in Aragon [September 12]. This is my opinion."

No longer under contract to Yamaha, Vinales is free to either replace Savadori for the remainder of this season or race as an Aprilia wild-card (providing the 90-day prior notice is not an insurmountable issue).

"For sure, having two riders in a similar level is going to help the engineers," Espargaro added. "Hopefully we’ll have the same opinions on the bike, we’ll like the same things.

"Next year Salvadori [set to switch from race to test rider], Maverick and myself I think we have a very strong team. I pushed for this many times. We’re just missing a satellite team with two young riders. But step-by-step and 2022 will be a promising year for Aprilia."

But does Espargaro not feel threatened by the arrival of Vinales, who outscored him comprehensively during their final year together at Suzuki?

"I feel good. Especially for Aprilia, Aprilia is also myself and it deserves to have a top rider like Maverick. I feel I’m riding better than ever. I think I’m one of the top riders in the category. But I don’t have the wins and podiums that Maverick has," Espargaro said.

"I'm happy for Aprilia to have a rider like him. Maverick knows perfectly I welcome him in this team. He also knows it’ll be difficult to beat me, I hope we will be able to fight together. It’s not going to be easy to beat me. He will have to suffer a lot to stay at my level!"