Even though nothing is official, members of the Sam Lowes camp have this morning confirmed he will not continue with Aprilia into MotoGP 2018 despite a contract that says different.
The Italian team have decided not to honour his two-year deal and Scott Redding will parachute in after being replaced at Pramac Ducati by Jack Miller.
Where does that now leave Lowes? Personal manager Roger Burnett will ensure the 28-year-old is paid for next year in full which puts the Isle of Man resident in a strong position as going to a team with a year’s wages in your back bin is attractive.
It is doubtful Lowes will be able to stay in MotoGP as of the five seats left, one will go to a Japanese rider, three will go to those who bring big sponsor money and the last - at MarcVDS - is something of a mystery now the Miller/Redding situation is sorted out – that chair would probaby be his best/only option.
“It’s no secret that there is a slot at Marc VDS and I’m very much hoping to enter into discussions over the course of the weekend,” said Burnett. “How that will play out, I’m not sure.”
Lowes will have options in Moto2 given his financial position and past performance. Of course, he won’t ride for free but even the highest-paid guys in that class won’t be on much more than €100,000 a year - which is less than Shane Byrne.
Should that not come off, there are options in WorldSBK. Honda need a rider or maybe two as it has been suggested Stefan Bradl could move back to MotoGP with MarcVDS. Puccetti Kawasaki also need a second rider which could mean Lowes is up against big mate Leon Haslam in that particular race.
Two Lowes in the WorldSBK Championship is what British fans have wanted to see for some time, it’s just a shame they wouldn’t be on the same bike. Unless Paul Denning has got a spare R1 kicking about.