The fallout from Maverick Viñales’ precipitate departure from the Monster Energy Yamaha team continues to reshape 2022, and perhaps even 2021.
First, Aprilia announced on the Monday after Austria that Viñales would be racing for them alongside Aleix Espargaro in 2022.
Then, at the end of that week, Yamaha announced they would be terminating their contract with Viñales with immediate effect.
That has freed Viñales up to start working with Aprilia immediately. After persistent rumors, today, Aprilia announced that Maverick Viñales will be testing the Aprilia RS-GP at Misano on August 31st and September 1st.
The Spaniard is to get an introduction to the bike in a private and calm setting, where he and the team can work through a program of testing and adaptation.
The test will be a chance to get to know the Aprilia engineers he will be working with going forward.
The press release describes the test as marking “the start of Maverick’s integration into the new structure that will accompany him throughout the 2022 season.”
It will be a chance for Aprilia to start assemble a crew Viñales could work with in 2022.
Aprilia will be racing as a separate factory team, with Gresini becoming independent, so this is a chance to get a head start on that as well. Aleix Espargaro’s team is expected to remain unchanged for 2022.
The test opens the door to Viñales making an early return to racing. Their only option, however, is if Aprilia decides to swap out Lorenzo Savadori and have Viñales complete the remainder of the 2021 season, while Savadori returns to testing duties.
Aprilia also have six wildcard entries available to them, but wildcard entries must be submitted 90 days before the event. The final grand prix of 2021 is scheduled to be held at Valencia on November 14th, 80 days from now.
A wildcard entry at Misano would be impossible anyway. A special exemption has already been made to allow three instead of the usual two wildcards at the Misano round scheduled for September 19th.
For KTM, Dani Pedrosa will be joining Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati’s Michele Pirro at the Italian track.