Moto2 veteran Simeon seals final spot on '18 MotoGP grid at Avintia

The Avintia Ducati MotoGP team has announced Xavier Simeon as its second rider for next season, completing a 24-rider premier class grid for 2018

Moto2 veteran Simeon seals final spot on '18 MotoGP grid at Avintia

Simeon has ridden full-time in the supporting Moto2 class since 2011, but has been linked to a step up to the premier class for some weeks and is believed to come with considerable financial backing from his Belgian homeland.

Simeon has a single Moto2 win to his credit from 124 starts, which came at the Sachsenring in 2015, and a best championship placing of seventh that was achieved in the same year.

He is currently 21st in the 2017 Moto2 standings amid a difficult year aboard Tasca Racing's sole Kalex entry, with only one top-10 finish to his name.

The 28-year-old joins Avintia on a two-year deal and will race alongside Tito Rabat next year, leaving the team's incumbent riders - Hector Barbera (pictured below) and Loris Baz - without rides in the premier class.

Barbera's anticipated deal to step down to Moto2 with the Pons team was announced on Thursday, while team-mate Baz's future is unclear.

The Frenchman told Autosport in Misano that he would look to return to World Superbikes, where he raced in 2012-14, should he lose his seat at Avintia.

2018 MotoGP line-up

Yamaha: Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi
Tech3 Yamaha: Johann Zarco, Jonas Folger
Honda: Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa
LCR Honda: Cal Crutchlow, Takaaki Nakagami
Marc VDS Honda: Franco Morbidelli, Tom Luthi
Ducati: Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo
Pramac Ducati: Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller
Aspar Ducati: Alvaro Bautista, Karel Abraham
Avintia Ducati: Tito Rabat, Xavier Simeon
Aprilia: Aleix Espargaro, Scott Redding
Suzuki: Andrea Iannone, Alex Rins
KTM: Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith

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