Just hours after it announced it would return to MotoGP one year ahead of schedule, Aprilia announced it has signed current MotoGP Gresini Honda rider Alvaro Bautista to a two-year contract. Bautista won the 125 World Championship for Aprilia back in 2006 and started out on the Italian company’s 125s. Now in his fifth year in MotoGP, the 29-year-old Spaniard has three third-place finishes and one pole to show for his efforts. Bautista finished 6th overall in 2013, but finds himself in 11th place this season, having not finished six of this year’s 13 MotoGP races so far.

Aprilia Racing manager Romano Albesiano commented, “Today we have inserted another very important tile in the mosaic by announcing Bautista’s signing. I am particularly satisfied because Alvaro has been confirmed on a team that he already knows well, creating the basis for that rapidity in finding maximum competitiveness that led us to moving up our plans to return to MotoGP”.

Bautista says: “I am very happy… I am also very motivated to embark on this new adventure because I am coming back to a brand that has brought me great satisfaction in the past and with which I have shared some great times. Above all, the cooperation between Aprilia Racing and Gresini Racing will allow me to stay on a team that I’ve been racing with already for three years and which has become like a family to me.”

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen who the second Aprilia Gresini rider might be. In his first year of MotoGP, Gresini Honda’s current rider Scott Redding had a best showing of seventh in his first MotoGP at Qatar. More to come.