Andrea Dovizioso will partake in further tests with the Aprilia MotoGP squad throughout the remainder of 2021 starting at Misano in June, the Italian marque announced Friday afternoon.
Dovizioso was left without a ride in the premier class after parting ways with Ducati at the conclusion of the ’20 campaign despite a trio of vice-champion accolades across the ’17-’19 terms, leaving him to take a sabbatical instead with an eye to returning to a race seat for ’22.
The 15-time MotoGP race winner was offered an opportunity to replace the banned Andrea Iannone at Aprilia for this season, but decided to push on with his sabbatical plans after being un sure of the ongoing pedigree of the manufacturer’s RS-GP.
The newly-upgraded version of the machine has turned heads so far this year though, a string of top ten finishes for lead rider Aleix Espargaro in the first four of the five races contested so far-in which he shadowed the battle for the rostrum positions-tempting Dovizioso to sample the bike in a private test at Jerez last month.
His first outing was only to get comfortable with the machine, with the real acid test being a second run at Mugello earlier this month.
The two-day test was unfortunately rendered largely useless by rain, though Aprilia and Dovizioso have now confirmed they will complete further tests throughout the rest of ’21, the next having been set for the 23rd and 24th of June at Misano in Italy.
Dovizioso says that further running with the RS-GP will be “beneficial” to both he and Aprilia as the organisation looks to make further progress with the bike and and for Dovizioso to keep himself match-fit for a possible return to full-time competition next year.
“Since I wasn’t able to test at Mugello in dry conditions, I’m pleased that Aprilia Racing asked me to continue the work we started in Jerez and to be able to provide my contribution to developing the bike,” said Dovizioso.
“I think this will be beneficial for both of us – for me, to continue training on a MotoGP bike in anticipation of a possible return in 2022, and for Aprilia to receive what they feel to be interesting information. For this reason, we decided to do more tests.”
Aprilia Racing Technical Director Romano Albesiano lauded Dovizioso’s further test outings as a “great opportunity” for Aprilia to “accelerate and consolidate” the rate of development of its RS-GP going forward.
“Our RS-GP project underwent a huge revolution last year and now we can finally push on development,” said Albesiano.
“The first part of the 2021 season has been very positive and rather evident improvements have been seen.
“Now, being able to set up a work schedule with Andrea is a great opportunity to accelerate and consolidate this growth. In the first two outings, we already touched on a lot of issues that we will now be able to look at more in-depth together, trying to get the best performance out of our very young project.”
A possible wild-card for Dovizioso has currently not been mentioned, although the San Marino Grand Prix in September has been rumoured as a possible venue for his return to racing, with a strong test at the track next month potentially being a catalyst for a guest appearance to become a reality.