Aleix Espargaro will sign for the Factory Ducati team in the coming days according to reports in Spain.
The Spaniard who signed for the NGM Forward Racing team at the start of the 2014 season is expected to move onto a full prototype machine for next season, but in a surprise move, reports emulating from Spain are saying that he will turn down an offers from Suzuki and HRC to ride in the LCR team on a RC213V, and will instead sign for Ducati, to ride in their flagship Factory team in a two year deal.
The news has come from motocuatro.com, and they say that Ducati have acted swiftly in securing the services of a rider for the next two years, after getting a resounding ‘no’ from Jorge Lorenzo.
They say Cal Crutchlow will look to move on from Ducati after just his first season, and with the ‘big four’ all staying where they are, for at least one more year, that Davide Brivio has convinced Andrea Dovizioso to also jump ship and join the Suzuki Factory team, possibly alongside reigning Moto3 World Champion Maverick Viñales. There is also interest in yesterday’s race winner Dominique Aegerter from Suzuki, with the Swiss rider competing in the Suzuka eight-hour for the Japanese brad.
This would leave the Factory Ducati team with Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone with a new fresh look and team for 2015.
Espargaro is of course no stranger to the beast that is the Desmosedici. Aleix Espargaro came in on the Pramac Ducati in 2009, and then had a full season on the same bike in 2010 before going back to Moto2 for a season. But since the move to Aspar and the ART, and the subsequent spell on the Forward M1, Espargaro has seen his stock rise higher and higher and Ducati believe they have the best alternative to Lorenzo for the next two seasons.
Espargaro’s form this season has really attracted the attention of the bosses in Italy, and after his pole position, and fourth place in Assen the Ducati bosses decided to act swiftly and move to get him onboard for the future after the unsuccessful signing of Cal Crutchlow. Ducati view the 24 year old (25 on 30th July) as the young, hungry rider they want on their bike for 2015 with Gigi Dall’Igna understood to be impressed with Espargaro from his time on the ART when Dall’Igna was still with Aprilia.
The summer break is usually the time the final contracts get thrashed out, and with uncertainty over the futures of Bautista, Bradl and Smith, there will most probably be some movers by the time we come back in Indiana.