British rider Scott Redding is set to replace compatriot Sam Lowes in the Aprilia MotoGP line-up for 2018.
Redding's current team Pramac Ducati confirmed on Thursday that it wouldn't be retaining the Brit for a third successive season, as the satellite outfit has instead agreed to field Jack Miller going forward.
This was to leave Redding's MotoGP future up in the air, the former Moto2 runner-up linked with a possible return to the Marc VDS Honda outfit or a switch to World Superbikes.
But neither of those possibilities will come to fruition as Redding will slot in alongside Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia, with the Italian marque having decided to part ways early with Sam Lowes.
Lowes' graduation to the premier class of grand prix motorcycle racing had been sealed as early as 2015, and he completed the transition from Moto2 this year after two frontrunning seasons in the intermediate class.
But the Brit has endured a slow start to life in MotoGP, overshadowed by experienced teammate Espargaro and with doubts over whether he would see out his two-year Aprilia deal soon surfacing.
Aprilia was understood to have approached Alvaro Bautista, Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Iannone as potential replacements earlier this year, but all of them turned down a move.
Heading into last weekend's Brno MotoGP round, Aprilia racing manager Romano Albesiano said the team “would like to give him [Lowes] more chance” and reckoned the following two races would be key to deciding the Brit's future.
But Lowes could not add to his two points scored in 2017 in Brno – and it seems now that his Aprilia future has been settled even before the two-race period was up.
2018 MotoGP rider line-up so far:
|Marc VDS Honda||
|Tech 3 Yamaha||