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**”Rivola’s Dilemma: Vinales’ Decision Holds Key to Aprilia’s Future Lineup”**

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Rivola would be thrilled if Maverick Vinales remains with Aprilia. The question is, who will partner with Jorge Martin at Aprilia next season?

With the official announcement that MotoGP title leader Jorge Martin will replace Aleix Espargaro, who is set to retire soon, the focus now shifts to the vacant factory Aprilia seat.

Since mid-2021, Maverick Vinales has teamed up with Espargaro. Motivated by his initial Grand Prix victory for Aprilia earlier this year, Vinales now leads the RS-GP riders, holding the sixth position in the rankings.

Should Vinales surpass Espargaro in the final world championship standings as the first teammate from Aprilia to do so, it may signal a suitable transition of the captain’s role to the #12.

Before finalizing a contract with Martin, Aprilia Racing's CEO, Massimo Rivola, indicated that his primary objective was to retain Vinales for the period following Espargaro's tenure, despite discussions about potentially bringing in an Italian rider.

Rivola expressed that the main focus should be on figuring out Maverick's intentions. He added that if Maverick decides to remain, it would make him extremely happy. Rivola made these remarks soon after confirming Martin's signing.

Rivola stated that if Maverick remains with the team, he will become the new 'Capitano.' Rivola praised Maverick for his efforts during Aprilia's challenging times, crediting him with elevating the team to a high level and showcasing a distinct riding style compared to Aleix.

Consequently, the search for a prominent Italian racer has been delayed until Vinales makes his choice.

"If Maverick is not available, I must also take this possibility into account. However, I see many strong Italian riders. But this is not our main priority."

Even though Vinales is off to his best start with Aprilia this season, he has remained secretive about his plans for 2025.

"I will make decisions that benefit my career," Vinales stated. "I still have a lot of speed. After Austin, it's clear to me how fast I can be when everything is aligned."

"Right now, I am fully committed to Aprilia. My focus is on every race weekend to ensure we have a great season."

"However, I remain uncertain about what lies ahead."

"I believe my choice will be based solely on performance."

If 'pure performance' prevented a move to Honda, Vinales might still have the option to remain with Aprilia, join a satellite Ducati team—possibly taking Martin's leading Pramac seat—or ride for a satellite KTM team.

Before the official announcement of Martin’s RS-GP contract, Vinales minimized expectations that he would automatically become Aprilia’s new team leader next season.

“I’m uncertain about what lies ahead for me. I’m not sure if I will stay with Aprilia. However, Aleix’s position at Aprilia is undoubtedly significant,” Vinales remarked.

"Aleix has spent numerous years with Aprilia, and I believe he shoulders a significant amount of responsibility and has performed exceptionally well."

Espargaro appears to be preparing for a yet-to-be-confirmed role as a test rider for Honda in 2025, a development that caught Vinales off guard.

Rivola humorously suggested that Espargaro might be given an assistant position, considering his personal efforts in promoting Aprilia during the successful negotiations that brought Vinales and now Martin to the team.

“He undoubtedly represented Aprilia effectively to both Vinales and Martin. That’s just Aleix’s way, being honest about both the positives and negatives,” Rivola commented.

"I believe Martin chose Aprilia because the brand has shown steady growth over the years. This year, we are the only manufacturer, besides his current Ducati team, to have secured race wins."

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