MILAN (Reuters) - Aprilia will return to MotoGP next season, a year earlier than previously announced, the Italian company said on Friday.
Italy-based Gresini Racing, who have raced with Honda support this season, will be their partner team under a cooperation agreement.
"This is a four year agreement, so Gresini Racing will be managing the Aprilia bikes on the track in MotoGP until the 2018 season," Aprilia said in a statement.
"Aprilia racing is currently making assessments to determine which riders will take part in the MotoGP project."
Gresini's riders this year are Spaniard Alvaro Bautista and Britain's Scott Redding.
Roberto Colaninno, chairman and chief executive of the Piaggio Group that owns Aprilia, said the decision to return early was because the company had shown already how competitive it could be on the track.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)