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Andrea Iannone is trading Ducati red for Suzuki blue, signing a two-year contract to race for the Suzuki Ecstar factory team on the GSX-RR. He replaces Maverick Vinales who is leaving for Yamaha.

“We are happy to have enrolled Andrea in our Team for the next two years. He is one of the top riders in MotoGP and he is also very passionate and motivated; which fits into our racing philosophy,” says Davide Brivio, Suzuki Ecstar team manager. “Our technical project is continuously improving since our debut in 2015 and we are working hard to make our GSX-RR very competitive so that it can fight consistently close to top and victory as soon as possible.”

Iannone is having a fairly disappointing season thus far. Iannone and Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso were expected to be competing for race wins but currently sit 10th and 11th, respectively. The two Andreas each have a podium but also three DNFs but the absolute low point was Argentine round where Iannone crashed into Dovizioso while the two were in position for podium finishes.

It’s no surprise, then, that Ducati signed Dovizioso to a contract extension and let Iannone go. Dovizioso will be joined by the also newly-signed Jorge Lorenzo. It’s telling that Ducati has yet to release a statement announcing Iannone’s departure. Teams typically release one to coincide with an announcement from the rider’s new team.

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Though his recent reputation has taken a hit, bringing new meaning to his nickname, “Maniac Joe,” Iannone still sports an impressive resume. In four MotoGP seasons, Iannone has three podium finishes and finished fifth overall last season.

“We wanted a rider that could help Suzuki continue its road to the top,” says Brivio. “Andrea is a fast rider who has the hunger for success and his riding style could suit our machine’s characteristics, therefore giving us good hopes for a positive partnership. Being in his fourth year in MotoGP he’s also an experienced rider from which the whole Team will benefit.”