The Piaggio Group announced the signing of Massimo Rivola as Aprilia Racing’s new CEO with the Italian moving from F1 to MotoGP.

Signs of Rivola leaving Ferrari became evident by the end of the 2018 F1 season when most of the Ferrari Academy drivers, with whom the Italian spent a large portion of his time with, were greeting Rivola with congratulatory messages.

The 47-year-old had joined Ferrari in 2009 as the team’s Sporting Director and overlooked the working of the Italian manufacturer’s driver academy as well, under whom they hired and developed many youngsters like Charles Leclerc, who is now a Ferrari driver.

Prior to his Ferrari stint, Rivola had worked with Minardi which later became Toro Rosso. In fact, he entered F1 with Minardi in 1998 and worked for the team until 2005 after which it became Toro Rosso from 2006 onward.

He remained with the team until 2008 after which he moved to Ferrari. After working for a decade, he has decided to move away not only from the team but also from the sport to join Aprilia  from January 7, 2019 and strengthened its MotoGP team.

The Noale-based racing outfit is taking big steps to make themselves competitive in the upcoming MotoGP seasons and Rivola’s signing is one of them. Before him, Aprilia hired experienced campaigner Andrea Iannone to partner Aleix Espargaro in 2019.

The Italian squad will also have the services of Bradley Smith as its official test and reserve rider – a first for the team in recent times. As alluded, the latest signing only adds to the commitment the team has for its MotoGP division.

The statement from Aprilia added: “The appointment of Rivola, who brings to MotoGP the vast experience accumulated in Formula 1, is another important step in the path of consolidating the Noale racing department and conformation of the Piaggio Group’s commitment to growing the MotoGP project.

“With this addition, Aprilia Racing continues to grow after the signing of top rider Andrea Iannone, who will ride alongside reconfirmed Aleix Espargaro, the arrival of Bradley Smith as tester and the addition of two new crew chiefs with proven experience, Antonio Jimenez and Fabrizio Cecchini.”