Moto2 World Championship title leader Alex Rins has been confirmed with the Factory Suzuki team for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, replacing Aleix Espargaro.
The Spaniard reached an agreement with Suzuki in Barcelona last time the paddock was together in Barcelona – as we reported earlier in the month – and today Suzuki have confirmed the 20 year old will be joining Andrea Iannone in a new look team for next season.
Suzuki took a chance on Yamaha-bound Maverick Viñales two years ago, and now Suzuki are hoping that their latest young star will be able to continue to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot and translate Moto2 success into MotoGP results.
“Alex Rins is a young rider who has already proven to have much talent, always fighting within the top positions of the World Championship since his debut in every class, making him the type of rider who we want to support for the future,” said Ecstar Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio.
“To pair Andrea Iannone, an experienced rider with such a young talent as Alex creates a perfect combination for our challenge. 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.”
The hold up regarding a deal was said to be around the length of an option after two years of his deal. Rins has signed a two-year deal with an option to extend for a further two seasons if Suzuki are satisfied, in a bid to ensure there isn’t a similar situation to what happened this season with Viñales.
Rins’ signing for Suzuki now paves the way for Aleix Espargaro to join the factory Aprilia team, alongside Sam Lowes for 2017, after agreeing a verbal deal with the Noale factory. Brivio thanked Espargaro for his service over the past two seasons as a factory rider.
“It wasn’t an easy choice and we feel sorry for Aleix who we would like to thank for his hard work and the real passion he has continued to put in our project since it started,” he said.
“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.”
Photos via Pons Racing