Ahead of last weekend's Italian Grand Prix, Andrea Iannone revealed that he would be leaving the factory Suzuki team at the end of the 2018 season.
Iannone's 2017 campaign was one blighted with crashes and inconsistency. He was signed by Suzuki to replace Yamaha-bound Maverick Viñales, a previous race winner for Suzuki, however he failed to live up these expectations. Iannone currently lies seventh in the 2018 MotoGP World Championship after 6 races, having taken back-to-back podiums in Austin and Jerez.
“Suzuki Motor Corporation announce that its collaboration with Andrea Iannone will come to an end after the 2018 season,” read the official statement released today by the manufacturer. “Suzuki as a whole would like to wish all the best to Andrea in what is sure to be a bright and successful future. During two seasons racing together Andrea has played an integral part in the growth of Suzuki’s MotoGP project as well as assisting in the development of our GSX-RR. All of the Suzuki family are incredibly grateful for his help, and for the positive results achieved during the collaboration.”
It looks likely that Iannone will partner Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia for the 2019 season, and will become the Spaniard’s third teammate in as many years, taking the seat that had belonged to Sam Lowes and Scott Redding.
Suzuki have promised to provide an update on Iannone’s replacement in the near future, having previously looked set to sign Jorge Lorenzo, it now seems likely that they will call up Joan Mir from Moto2 to replace Iannone. Mir is currently 6 races into his first Moto2 season, having achieved 2 podiums he appears to have got to grips with his Moto2 machine more quickly than previous Moto3 champions before him.