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MotoGP leader Martin switching to Aprilia next season

Jorge Martin rides his Pramac in the pit lane in Mugello (Marco BERTORELLO)
Jorge Martin rides his Pramac in the pit lane in Mugello (Marco BERTORELLO)

MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin will change teams next season, Aprilia announced on Monday, saying they had signed the Spaniard to a "multi-year contract" starting in 2025.

The 26-year-old is in his fourth season with the Ducati satellite team Pramac.

"Jorge is a building block to reach the goal we are all looking for with great hunger at Aprilia Racing," said team CEO Massimo Rivola.

"We spoke last night and without wasting any time we made the decision."

Martin had been a leading candidate to move up to the Ducati factory team next season to replace Enea Bastianini.

The picture seemed to change at the end of last week when six-time world champion Marc Marquez, who joined another Ducati satellite, Gresini, in January, declared replacing Martin at Pramac next season "was not an option".

Speaking last Thursday, ahead of the Italian Grand, Marquez said he would give priority to offers from factory teams.

He was speaking after fellow Catalan Aleix Espargaro had announced he would retire at the end of the season, freeing a place at Aprilia.

This season, Martin leads double defending world champion Francesco Bagnaia by 18 points in the standings with Marquez, resurgent in third after four uncompetitive seasons hampered by severe crashes and his Honda team's struggles to keep up with Ducati.

As the signing season gathers pace, Ducati are expected to announce soon the name of the rider who will join Bagnaia in the factory team.

On Saturday, KTM announced the recruitment of 20-year-old Spanish prodigy Pedro Acosta, who is fifth in an impressive debut season with GasGas-Tech 3, the Austrian manufacturer's French satellite team.

nb-pb/iwd