Bautista, Petrucci in talks about 2018 Aprilia MotoGP ride

Alvaro Bautista and Danilo Petrucci have both confirmed they have held discussions with Aprilia about joining the Italian MotoGP manufacturer in 2018.

Bautista, Petrucci in talks about 2018 Aprilia MotoGP ride
Alvaro Bautista, Aspar Racing Team
Sam Lowes, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Alvaro Bautista, Aspar Racing Team
Sam Lowes, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Alvaro Bautista, Aspar Racing Team
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing
Sam Lowes, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Sam Lowes, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
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Aprilia has both Aleix Espargaro and Sam Lowes under contract for one more season, but Lowes has come under pressure following a difficult first seven races of his rookie campaign.

The Briton lies 24th in the points standings having only scored two points with a 14th place finish at Le Mans ahead of this weekend's Dutch TT.

Aprilia racing manager Romano Albesiano confirmed during Barcelona testing that discussions had taken place with possible replacements in case Lowes was unable to show a rapid improvement in form.

Bautista, who left Aprilia to join the Aspar squad on a year-old Ducati this year, said he had been approached about a return to the Noale marque. 

"At the moment, I know my manager is speaking with them [Aprilia]," said Bautista. 

"Our priority is to speak with [Aspar] because I feel very competitive with this bike and this team. But it's true that Aprilia is coming to find me again.

"For sure working with factory is something very positive. At the moment it's not clear, but the important thing is I have some options."

Pramac Ducati rider Petrucci, whose bike is the same spec as factory duo Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, also clarified he had been in talks with Aprilia.

"My manager is talking with Aprilia," said the Mugello podium finisher. "I know that we are talking with Ducati [about staying at Pramac] and Aprilia."

"But at the moment I prefer to finish these two races [at Assen and the Sachsenring] to remain more concentrated on the next year, then in the [summer break] I will know what are the offers." 

Lowes feels step forward is close

Lowes spoke out in Barcelona about a "lack of respect" from his team, but said the two-week break since the Catalan round had helped to clear the air and that the Gresini-run squad was in good spirits ahead of this weekend's Assen race.

He added he felt he was close to a breakthrough that would prove to Aprilia he deserves to see out his contract.

'I honestly feel like I'm nearly in a position where I'm riding the bike well and I can show what I can do," said Lowes. "And if I can do that, the rest will take care of itself. I can't control some things.

"The potential is a lot more than where I've been finishing, but I feel we're close to making that step. Hopefully in two or three races' time we're not having these conversations."

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

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