Rins secures MotoGP graduation with Suzuki

Moto2 star Alex Rins has been confirmed as Suzuki's second rider for the 2017 MotoGP season, joining Andrea Iannone in an entirely new line-up for the Japanese manufacturer.

Rins secures MotoGP graduation with Suzuki
Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40
Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP
Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40
Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40
Aleix Espargaro, Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP
Race winner Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport
Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport
Pol Espargaro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Rins, 20, joins the team on a two-year deal alongside Ducati rider Iannone, the pair replacing Suzuki's current duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.

“Alex is a young rider who has already proven to have much talent, always fighting within the top positions of the World Championship since his debut in every class, making him the type of rider who we want to support for the future," said Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio.

"To pair Andrea Iannone, an experienced rider with such a young talent as Alex creates a perfect combination for our challenge."

The announcement effectively spells the end of Espargaro's two-year tenure at the team.

"It wasn’t an easy choice and we feel sorry for Aleix who we would like to thank for his hard work and the real passion he has continued to put in our project since it started," Brivio added.

"We wish him all the best for his future but in the meantime we will support as best as we can to try to get the best possible results together until the end of this season.” 

Espargaro is now likely to move to Aprilia to fill what is now the last factory seat still open for 2017. The Aspar Ducati team has also expressed an interest in the Spaniard's services.

Rins, meanwhile, had previously been linked with a move to Tech 3 Yamaha, although team boss Herve Poncharal was downbeat of his chances of securing the Moto2 runner-up's signature.

The announcement means reigning Moto2 champion Johann Zarco is now most likely to make his premier class graduation at Tech 3, despite testing for Suzuki and committing to the manufacturer for this summer's Suzuka 8 Hours.

Rins currently leads the Moto2 championship by eight points from Sam Lowes, having taken victories at Austin and Le Mans.

2017 MotoGP grid so far:

TeamRiders
Yamaha

 Valentino Rossi

 Maverick Vinales

Honda

 Marc Marquez

 Dani Pedrosa

Ducati

 Jorge Lorenzo

 Andrea Dovizioso

Suzuki

 Andrea Iannone

 Alex Rins

Aprilia

 Sam Lowes

 Aleix Espargaro

KTM

 Bradley Smith

 Pol Espargaro

Tech 3 Yamaha

 Jonas Folger

TBA

LCR Honda TBA
Marc VDS Honda TBA
Pramac Ducati TBA
Avintia Ducati TBA
Aspar Ducati TBA
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