American Team Trackhouse Racing to Potentially Take Over Aprilia's MotoGP Operation
American team Trackhouse Racing is in talks to save Aprilia's satellite MotoGP operation for the 2024 season, according to sources in the MotoGP paddock.
Trackhouse Racing in Talks to Take Over Aprilia's MotoGP Operation
Trackhouse Racing, the race-winning NASCAR team owned by rapper Pitbull, is heavily tipped to become the unlikely savior of Aprilia's satellite MotoGP operation for the 2024 season. Discussions between Trackhouse Racing and MotoGP series organizer Dorna are currently underway to transfer the RNF Racing grid spots for next year. The potential takeover comes following the departure of team principal Razlan Razali just days before the start of pre-season testing.
The difficulties faced by Razali's team were first reported during the Valencian Grand Prix weekend by The Race. Rumors of a feud with Romanian team co-owner CryptoData, who acquired 60% of the team in 2022, have surrounded the situation. Razorli confirmed the split on social media, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to manage and own a MotoGP team.
CryptoData initially aimed to continue running the team without Razali's involvement. However, due to ongoing disputes with Dorna over sponsorship fees for the Austrian GP and the need to fill next year's grid, Dorna turned to Trackhouse Racing. The NASCAR squad now finds itself in discussions with the Spanish race promoter.
Trackhouse Racing: Success in NASCAR and Project91 Initiative
Trackhouse Racing, formed in 2021 by ex-NASCAR racer Justin Marks with co-owner Pitbull, has seen notable success in NASCAR's main Cup series. The team achieved wins with drivers Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain. Additionally, Trackhouse garnered attention through its part-time Project91 initiative, which featured guest star drivers such as Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen and Australian touring car star Shane van Gisbergen.
The potential inclusion of Trackhouse Racing in MotoGP aligns with Dorna's goals of increasing American interest in the premier class of motorcycle racing while attracting high-profile celebrity backers to the grid. This move aims to reverse declining audiences in the crucial US market.
With Aprilia retaining ownership of the leased bikes and contracts with Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez, the transition to new team management for the 2024 season is expected to be relatively smooth. Trackhouse Racing representatives, including former Alpinestars and Triumph Racing manager Jeremy Appleton, are currently in talks with Aprilia at Valencia to finalize the deal.
Potential Upgrades and Future Implications
The injection of US investment into Aprilia's MotoGP team could lead to significant improvements in performance. There are indications that Trackhouse Racing may choose to fund brand new factory-spec 2024 bikes instead of using year-old RS-GP machines. This would elevate the team to the same level as other top-tier satellite teams like Pramac Ducati and address this year's technical issues, which have been attributed to outdated equipment.
While the negotiations with Trackhouse Racing are progressing at a rapid pace, current owner CryptoData continues to pursue its own plans. An announcement of a partnership with Romanian dance music festival Untold is scheduled for Saturday night at the Valencia track. The future of CryptoData's MotoGP aspirations in relation to Dorna's plans and any current disagreements between the parties remains uncertain.