Alex Rins will make his much awaited graduation to MotoGP in 2017, signing to ride the second factory Suzuki.

The 20-year-old Spaniard has signed a two-year deal with the company that will see him pair with Andrea Iannone for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Rins arrives in the championship with a strong pedigree.

He currently leads the Moto2 points, amassing a total of four wins across two seasons in the class so far, and was a multiple race winner and title contender in Moto3 prior to that.


"Alex Rins is a young rider who has already proven to have much talent, always fighting within the top positions of the World Championship since his debut in every class, making him the type of rider who we want to support for the future," Suzuki's MotoGP team manager Davide Brivio said.

"To pair Andrea Iannone, an experienced rider with such a young talent as Alex creates a perfect combination for our challenge.

"We believe that the combination of these two riders, together with the further development of the Suzuki GSX-RR, can help us to create a strong team to compete at the maximum level."

The announcement means Suzuki will be starting with a clean slate on the rider front in 2017.

Maverick Vinales has already confirmed he is off to the factory Yamaha squad to replace Jorge Lorenzo, while Rins's arrival means there is no room for Aleix Espargaro at the team next year.

"It wasn't an easy choice and we feel sorry for Aleix who we would like to thank for his hard work and the real passion he has continued to put in our project since it started," Brivio said.

"We wish him all the best for his future but in the meantime we will support as best as we can to try to get the best possible results together until the end of this season."

The signing also means Suzuki development rider, reigning Moto2 world champion Johann Zarco, will also need to find another home if he wishes to graduate to MotoGP in 2017.