Andrea Iannone has confirmed that he will leave the factory Suzuki MotoGP team at the end of the 2018 season.
Iannone made the announcement on the eve of his home Grand Prix at Mugello and is now looking at other factory options for 2019. The Italian has been heavily linked with a move to Aprilia, with a return to Pramac Ducati also a possibility.
Speaking about his future Iannone said:
“For sure I will not remain with Suzuki – I will switch to another bike and another manufacturer. I don’t want to talk about my future too much because it’s heavy on me right now. Suzuki talked with me about my future only after the Barcelona test, and in any case it’s sure now that I’ll not remain with them.”
Iannone joined Suzuki for the 2017 season after losing his factory Ducati ride to Jorge Lorenzo. The 28-year-old endured a difficult first season, ending the year 13th in championship with no podiums.
The Grand Prix winner has made a step forward in 2018 however, with back-to-back podiums in Austin and Jerez putting him seventh in the championship. By this time though his future had already been in doubt, with Suzuki re-signing team-mate Alex Rins for a further two seasons.
There had been talk about Lorenzo possibly being the man to replace Iannone once again, however it now appears more likely that he’ll be riding for a satelite Yamaha team in 2019.
Reigning Moto3 Champion Joan Mir now looks set to join Suzuki, with the team turning to youth once again – as they did with Maverick Vinales. Mir had been previously linked to Repsol Honda as a replacement for Dani Pedrosa.