Aprilia announced it has reached a mutual agreement to end its contract with racer Marco Melandri. Taking the Italian’s place immediately at this weekend’s MotoGP round at Sachsenring is British racer Michael Laverty.

The 2015 MotoGP season has been tough for both Melandri and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. Aprilia acknowledged going into the season that 2015 will be a development year for its MotoGP program and the new RS-GP prototype.

Even with low expectations, Melandri’s performance has been underwhelming, with the former 250cc Grand Prix champion the only racer to have started every round this season that has not scored at least one championship point. His teammate, Alvaro Bautista has fared better, sitting 17th overall with 11 points.

Replacing Melandri is Laverty who last raced in MotoGP last season with the Paul Bird Motorsport team. Laverty has been competing in the 2015 British Superbike Championship, currently sitting sixth overall for the Tyco BMW squad.

“I’m excited to be back on the MotoGP grid this weekend of the German GP,” says Laverty. “Competing against the regular guys racing MotoGP is a tough task, but I am relishing the opportunity.”

070815-laverty-aprilia-motogpLaverty had been working with Aprilia’s test team so he is familiar with the RS-GP, making him a logical replacement for Melandri.

“I have been riding with the Aprilia test team so I am comfortable with the Aprilia RS-GP machine and the Bridgestone tires,” says Laverty. “Firstly I must adapt the race bikes to suit me and then look to keep progressing throughout the weekend.”

[Source: Aprilia]