Alex Rins to replace Aleix Espargaro at Suzuki next season

The latest move in the MotoGP paddock as riders look to renew contracts comes from Moto2 rider Alex Rins who will now join Andrea Iannone at Team Suzuki Ecstar next season as the team have announced they will be releasing Aleix Espargaro who has expressed his disappointment.

Alex Rins to replace Aleix Espargaro at Suzuki next season
Rins to replace Aleix Espargaro at Team Suzuki Ecstar next season-

Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, the current champion of the MotoGP recently made the decision to move to Ducati at the end of the season and signed a contract to remain at the Italian factory team for two years.

His decision started a wave of movement within the paddock and speculation continued as to who would go where, with the latest announcement being that Moto2 rider Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) will be taking the second factory seat when he joins Team Suzuki Ecstar next season.

Lorenzo's move was the start of a lot of changes

After Lorenzo announced his decision the Movistar Yamaha team decided Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) would be the man to take his place alongside current rider Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), who extended his contract by two years, this meant that a space was available in the Suzuki team.

In order for Lorenzo to join Ducati, one of the Andrea's had to make way. They soon decided that Andrea ‘The Maniac’ Iannone would go and Andrea Dovizioso would remain to partner Lorenzo. Straight away, Iannone was in talks with Suzuki and soon signed a contract with them. This annoyed the other current Team Suzuki Ecstar rider, Aleix Espargaro, who had publicly spoke of how he was disappointed that his team were “disrespectful” in hiring Iannone without approaching him. He was also very vocal about the fact that he has been approached by World Superbike teams and it was likely that he would move there.

Meanwhile, in the Moto2 field, riders have seemed reluctant to move up to the MotoGP unless offered a factory seat. Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Racing) will join Aprilia next season, Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) will take one of the two seats available with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha and now Rins will take the factory seat with Team Suzuki Ecstar.

Brivio speaks about decision to hire Rins

Manager of the Team, Davide Brivio described Rins as a “young rider who has already proven to have much talent.” He spoke of how he has looked appealing to them as he is “always fighting within the top positions of the World Championship” in every class he competes in and this has made him “the type of rider” who they “want to support for the future”.

Rins will partner Iannone as they continue to “evolve” the GSX-RR which re-joined the MotoGP last year. Brivio feels the pairing of Iannone, “an experienced rider,” along with Rins “creates a perfect combination for our (their) challenge.

Brivio said, “We believe that the combination of these two riders together with the further development of the Suzuki GSX-RR can help us to create a strong team to compete at the maximum level."

What does this mean for Aleix Espargaro?

Aleix Espargaro is now currently without a seat for next season. Speaking about this, Brivio described how it “wasn’t an easy choice” and that they “feel sorry for Aleix."

However, he remained grateful saying: “We would like to thank (him) for his hard work and the real passion he has continued to put in our project since it started.”

Brivio went on to say, “We wish him all the best for his future but in the meantime we will support as best as we can to try to get the best possible results together until the end of this season.”