Suzuki launches MotoGP return, confirms Espargaro and Vinales

Suzuki has given an official green light to its 2015 MotoGP return and confirmed Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales as its riders

Suzuki launches MotoGP return, confirms Espargaro and Vinales

It will also go ahead with a wildcard appearance in the 2014 season finale at Valencia in October, with test rider Randy de Puniet set to give the new GSX-RR its racing debut at the Spanish event.

Suzuki withdrew its factory team from MotoGP at the end of 2011, but immediately began work on developing the new bike for an eventual return.

Although it made no secret of either its intention to rejoin the grid in 2015or its rider choices, it held off on an official announcement until a press conference with team boss and long-time Yamaha MotoGP chief Davide Brivio at Cologne's Intermot show on Tuesday.

The Suzuki deal is Espargaro's first factory MotoGP ride. The 25-year-old Spaniard has started 71 top-class grands prix since first appearing as a stand-in rider for Pramac Ducati in mid-2009, and he has dominated the CRT and Open classes with first Aspar, then Forward Racing in recent seasons.

Espargaro claimed his maiden MotoGP podium finish on Forward's Yamaha in last weekend's Aragon Grand Prix.

His team-mate and compatriot Vinales steps into MotoGP after just one season in Moto2.

The 19-year-old won the 2013 Moto3 title, and is currently third in Moto2 this year.

Former factory Kawasaki MotoGP rider de Puniet and long-time Suzuki tester Nobuatsu Aoki have carried out the bulk of development work on the new MotoGP bike.

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