A mass reshuffle of MotoGP midfield hopefuls resolved the immediate future of at least two riders at the Red Bull Ring – with Jack Miller departing Honda for Ducati, and the displaced Scott Redding switching directly to Aprilia.
The third element is yet to be confirmed: that Sam Lowes will slot in to Jack Miller’s vacated seat at Honda.
Miller’s move was the key that triggered the dancing party.
Speculation had been growing over the past week, with an offer on the Australian’s table from Pramac Ducati, plus the chance of staying with Honda, but with a year-old bike.
At Brno, his lips remained sealed, and he joined members of the Marc VDS team in a cycling marathon covering almost half the 325-km distance between Brno and the Red Bull Ring.
But on Thursday evening Pramac announced that he would be joining Danilo Petrucci in the top independent Ducati team.
Redding meanwhile had frequently revealed the insecurity of his tenure at Pramac, becoming more so with worsening results.
But no sooner had his replacement at Pramac been announced than Aprilia confirmed that the Englishman would be replacing his compatriot Sam Lowes, alongside Aleix Espargaro next year.
Things had been even worse for Lowes, with the second year of his MotoGP contract at Aprilia under growing threat with his own poor results in the first year. Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano said at Brno that they were hoping for better results there and in Austria in order to be able to confirm his position … but in the end he proved unable to wait that long.
By Michael Scott