Aprilia has confirmed that test rider Bradley Smith will compete for the outfit at the Spanish and Andalucian Grands Prix, in place of the suspended Andrea Iannone.
Smith will make the step up from his testing duties and line-up alongside Aleix Espargaro – who recently extended his contract with the Italian manufacturer.
Regular rider Iannone was initially handed an 18-month ban following a drugs test after the 2019 Malaysian Grand Prix, when an illegal steroid was found in his system.
Aprilia, which recruited Iannone at the start of 2019, has remained supportive of the one-time MotoGP race winner throughout the process.
With no fixed date currently set for Iannone’s attempt to overturn his ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), the situation could leave Smith potentially filling in for the entire provisional 13-round championship.
Should Iannone’s attempt to appeal his ban fail, the Italian could find it prolonged to four years, after the World Anti-Doping Agency requested an extension.
Smith and Espargaro have recently spent time at a Ducati-organised private test in Misano with the eagerly anticipated 2020-spec RS-GP, with KTM and Suzuki also present at the Rimini circuit.
The British rider moved across to Aprilia in a testing role from the works KTM outfit, however, he did make four wildcard appearances through 2019 at the Qatar, Spanish, Catalan and Aragon Grands Prix.