Aprilia gains ex-Ferrari man Massimo Rivola
The Aprilia MotoGP team will welcome ex-Ferrari Formula 1 sporting director Massimo Rivola for the 2019 season as current boss Romano Albesiano looks to focus on his role as technical director.
Rivola has a distinguished career in F1, working as sporting director at Minardi in the early 2000s before becoming Toro Rosso team manager from '06 to '08, overseeing the Italian team's sole win in the series with future Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel at Monza in his final year.
He then joined Ferrari the following year as sporting director, and in recent years has been at the helm of the Scuderia's driver academy.
Aprilia, which is currently run in conjunction with the satellite Gresini team, will enter its fifth year since its return in the premier class next year with Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Iannone spearheading its charge.
During the Valencia Grand Prix weekend, the Noale marque's technical director and current racing manager Albesiano admitted he was looking at bringing in someone else to better manage the outfit.
While Rivola's role is yet to be confirmed by Aprilia, Italian outlet GPone.com is reporting that he will take on the position of CEO, while Albesiano will remain as technical director.
Aprilia endured a difficult fourth season back in MotoGP as a factory entrant, ending the campaign last in the manufacturers' table, with a best result of a solitary sixth for Espargaro at Aragon.
Rivola's signing is one of several high-profile changes made at Aprilia ahead of next year, with former KTM runner Bradley Smith joining the marque as test rider.
Smith, along with Iannone and fellow tester Matteo Baiocco will be out on track on Wednesday and Thursday at Jerez for the final pre-season test of the year.
Espargaro will miss the first day of running having just been released from hospital after he was struck down by gastritis, but will attempt to ride on Thursday.