Aprilia reveals how it snatched jilted Martin from Ducati

Even the Abu Dhabi Auto Racing League

The speed with which Aprilia delayed the 'big news' by less than two hours after the first reports that Marc Márquez had beaten Jorge Martin to second place in the 2025 championship immediately hinted that a furious Martin might have stormed straight to Aprilia to sign a contract where as soon as he He knew he wasn't getting what he wanted from Ducati.

When Aprilia team principal Massimo Rivola spoke to the MotoGP press at the Mugello circuit an hour later, he pretty much confirmed that's exactly what happened.

Racing understands the deal was signed at the track just 20 minutes before Aprilia announced Martin's signing, with its legal team working through the night to bring everything together.

“The strategy was quite clear not to make the first move because we didn't want to give any gifts to anyone,” Rivola said of Aprilia's approach to replacing its retiring talisman Aleix Espargaro.

“But when we felt there was a good opportunity — and that was actually last night! — we were very quick to take action rather than talk.

“We found a deal very quickly.”

At the time of writing, Ducati has yet to officially announce the Marquez's move to the factory and Aprilia appears to have surprised them by making the announcement so quickly.

When asked by The Race why she was in such a rush to reveal the Martin deal, Rivola responded: “Announcing at this point, and being the first to announce, is to show that we can do things quickly and we can make a decision quickly. It was just 'let's get it fixed;' “It's over and let's focus on the next step.”

Far from acknowledging that Aprilia had made an initial offer to tempt Marquez, the six-time champion was not mentioned at all in Rivola's explanation of how his team suddenly ended up signing the current world championship leader. What convinced Ducati that it wanted Marquez – not Martin – as Picco Bagnaia's teammate for 2025 was not Aprilia's problem.

All Rivola needed to know was that Martin had arrived on his doorstep and was making the most of it, quickly contacting Dr Michele Colanino – CEO of the Piaggio Group, Aprilia's parent company – to get approval for the investment required to make the biggest signing of his MotoGP programme. company so far.

“Last night I called my manager and said: ‘We have an opportunity,’ and he said: ‘Get it, seize it.’” “I did,” Rivola said, adding that Colanino is “very keen to find hungry, motivated riders.”

The motive, in this case, is likely sheer anger. Rivola did not shy away from this element, although he also pointed out that Aprilia was the only manufacturer other than Ducati to win any races this year. It wasn't as if Martin had placed himself emotionally at the back of the net.

“I don’t know if it was based on emotion, but I think Jorge was chosen because Aprilia has had consistent growth over the years,” Rivola said.

Espargaro – a close friend of Martin and part of the same management stable under Albert Valera – has received plenty of thanks for his help in luring Martin to Aprilia, repeating the role he played in bringing Maverick Viñales back to the team in 2021.

As for Viñales, Rivola was clear that Aprilia's starting point is for him to stay alongside Martin – although the ball is in Viñales' court there now.

Rivola also admitted that in the rush to piece together everything around Martin, the team forgot to inform Vinales that the news had arrived – something for which Rivola accepted full responsibility.

He added: “My mistake was not telling him this would happen, but the priority was to close it.”

A move for Bagnaia's current teammate Enea Bastianini (although he is also a target for KTM and Tech3) seems likely if Aprilia has to replace Vinales as well. Rivola said he has been a long-time admirer of Bastianini and implied he would have been a serious target for 2025 until Martin suddenly became available.

“Enea is one of the riders I've been trying to get here for a long time, but it's hard to predict now,” Rivola said.

The pursuit of Bastianini may have to wait another year. Whether it's Viñales, Bastianini or someone else at the other Aprilia, that's a matter of tomorrow. Today was about being absolutely certain that the potential 2024 MotoGP world champion will ride an Aprilia in 2025 and worrying about the repercussions later on.

“I think every one of you in my place would have done the same,” Rivola told a hastily called-in media to get his opinion on Aprilia's biggest move in MotoGP to date.


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