Aprilia confirm Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista as their line up for 2016, with Sam Lowes as test rider before making the step up in 2017.
After an encouraging debut this season where he familiarised himself quickly with the RS-GP, Stefan Bradl will be on the track with Aprilia in 2016 as well.
Alongside Alvaro Bautista, the twenty-five year old German rider – Moto2™ world champion in 2011 – will ride the Aprilia prototype that will be raced next season with the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.
Born in the Bavarian city of Augsburg on 29 November 1989, Stefan Bradl made his debut in the 125cc class of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing in 2005. In 2008 he took two wins and finished the season fourth in the overall standings. In 2010 he moved to Moto2™, a category where he was crowned World Champion in 2011 thanks to four wins. His rookie year in MotoGP came in 2012 astride a Honda, a bike that he would race for two more seasons, with a second place finish as his best result in the 2013 United States Grand Prix.
Next season Sam Lowes will also be participating in development of the Aprilia MotoGP prototype as a tester. With Lowes – who will be participating in the 2016 Moto2™ championship with Team Gresini – working with Aprilia Racing in the medium-term projects area, the British rider will be able to both develop the MotoGP™ prototype and get his feet wet with the performance and technical complexity of the highest category in the championship. All of this will lay the groundwork for Sam Lowes’ participation in the 2017 MotoGP™ Championship season with Aprilia.
Romano Albesiano (Aprilia Racing Manager): “Stefan Bradl came on board almost by chance, a result of the circumstances, but his change in bikes this season was a pleasant surprise for me. From the very start we found him to be a methodical and fast rider, extremely precise in his comments and therefore particularly suited for the delicate role of “race tester” that our rookie season requires. Precisely for this reason we wanted to continue working with him and now it’s official. Stefan will work alongside Alvaro Bautista who will be in his second year with Aprilia. In this 2015 season Alvaro is providing a fundamental contribution to development of the RS-GP. With Alvaro and Stefan we have two excellent riders on our team with the right skills, professionalism and motivation to grow the Aprilia MotoGP project. For the work that will be done at Noale and by the test team we’ll also be able to count on the contribution of a fast young rider like Sam Lowes who, along with his commitment in the Moto2 championship, will be working as our official tester.”
Fausto Gresini (Team Manager): “I’m pleased that Stefan will be staying with us next season. He has contributed a lot to Aprilia Racing and the entire team in developing our MotoGP project. The work he is doing now is important and it will be even more important next season when we’ll have a completely new bike to develop. This makes up a great team, with Bradl and Bautista, fast riders, young but with a lot of MotoGP experience, both able to drive the entire team to find the best possible performance.”
Stefan Bradl: “I am really thankful for the great opportunity that Aprilia Racing Team Gresini gave me in the second half of the season. I would like to thank Romano Albesiano and Fausto Gresini for believing in me. At my first Grand Prix with Aprilia in Indianapolis I immediately felt really welcome by the whole team, I cannot really describe how professional everybody works in the team. I can say without a doubt that Aprilia is the best team I have raced with since starting my World Championship career. I have great support from my technical crew. I could tell from the first day that they really believe in me and I like the way they prepare and plan every session. Signing for 2016 gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races and it is great motivation to prepare for next season as best as possible. I know Aprilia has high expectations and I am confident that we have what it takes to be a consistent top ten contender for 2016. This must be our goal.”
Press Release MotoGP.com