Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi:
The Moto2 and Moto3 markets are stepping up a gear as the 2012 season winds to a close, and the top seats in both the Moto2 and Moto3 class are starting to fill up. Today, the Tech 3 team announced that they have signed young British rider Danny Kent to a two-year contract to race for the team in Moto2. Kent has had a strong third season in Grand Prix, being a front row regular and bagging his first podium at Assen this year. The young Briton has regularly scored solid points in the ultra-competitive Moto3 class, running as wingman to current championship leader Sandro Cortese on the Red Bull KTM. Kent will line up alongside Frenchman Louis Rossi at Tech 3, though the addition of Kent makes the Tech 3 squad a very English affair, with Kent joining the team's MotoGP line up of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith.
While the MotoGP line up for next season is largely settled, there is still plenty of activity in the Moto2 and Moto3 markets. This week saw two major announcements for the 2013: in Moto2, the Tech 3 team announced the signing of Frenchman Louis Rossi, currently riding for Team Germany in Moto3; and in Moto3, the Mapfre Aspar team announced that Jonas Folger will continue with the squad for next season.
Rossi has impressed many teams this season, performing strongly in Moto3 despite a height and weight disadvantage, and winning his home Grand Prix at Le Mans. Rossi should suit the bigger physical size of a Moto2 bike, and being signed with a French team should give him a solid basis to start his Moto2 career from.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Aragon on Saturday:
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's round at Barcelona:
Cheating in motorsports is as old as the sport itself. Whenever powered vehicles gather together to race each other, then someone, somewhere, will try to gain an advantage, either within the rules or, if that is not successful, outside of the rules. In all classes, and at all times, teams, engineers and riders have all tried to cheat in one way or another. Even the imposition of a spec engine in the Moto2 class hasn't prevented teams trying to cheat, and the paddock is awash with rumors regarding which teams are cheating and which teams are not.
The finger of blame is inevitably pointed at the most successful riders, and in recent months, it has been pointed mainly at Catalunya CX rider Marc Marquez. Marquez has a number of strikes against him, making him a popular target for rumors of cheating; firstly, Marquez is Spanish, and as Moto2 is a Spanish-run series, the non-Spanish teams are all fervently convinced that Spanish teams are not monitored as closely as they are. Secondly, Marquez has the backing of Repsol, one of the more powerful sponsors in the paddock, exerting influence not just over Marquez' Monlau Competicion team, but also over the much more important factory Repsol Honda team; the power of Repsol, the gossips suggest, exerts undue influence on the policing process. Thirdly, and most obviously, Marquez is fast, almost suspiciously so. The Spaniard's bike is always one of the fastest through the speed traps, and accelerates hardest off the corners. His team put it down to hard work at finding exactly the right set up for Marquez to excel. One of the lighter Moto2 riders on a well-prepared bike, ridden by a fast and talented rider? That, Marquez' supporters argue, is reason enough for him to be fastest.
To find out more about the situation, and what Dorna and the scrutineers are doing to address these concerns, I spoke to Race Director - and formerly Technical Director - Mike Webb at Estoril. I passed on the concerns that others had expressed to me about cheating in Moto2, and he explained to me exactly what Dorna are doing to monitor the bikes and ensure that cheating is kept to an absolute minimum, and that if it is happening, it does not pay. Here is what Webb had to say:
The final round of press releases issued after the MotoGP season opener in Qatar, from Tech 3, Marc VDS Racing, Suter, Brad Binder, Bel-Ray and PBM:
Press releases from the teams after the Moto2 and Moto3 races on Sunday at Qatar:
Press releases after qualifying from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at Qatar:
Press releases from a selection of the teams after the Moto2 and Moto3 test at Valencia:
The FIM today released the provisional entry lists for all three Grand Prix classes, and the grids are looking remarkably healthy. Some 21 riders will line up in the MotoGP class, the Moto2 grid has been shrunk to a more manageable 33 entries, and 32 riders will be at the start for the inaugural season of racing in the Moto3 class, the grid the same size as it was for last year's 125cc class, which Moto3 replaces.
There are no surprises in the MotoGP class. As expected, there are 21 entries: 12 factory prototype entries and 9 CRT entries. Of the factory prototypes (which includes satellite machines), the three factory teams remain unchanged with the exception of the reduction of the Repsol Honda squad from three riders to two, Andrea Dovizioso having been dropped, despite finishing 3rd in the championship in 2011 ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who retains his seat. Dovizioso joins Cal Crutchlow at Monster Tech 3, Yamaha maintaining its commitment at 4 YZR-M1 machines. Both Honda and Ducati have cut back to just two satellite bikes apiece, with the bikes spread over four different teams. Stefan Bradl, whose usual number, 65, was retired in honor of Loris Capirossi, has elected to use the number 6.
After a slow start, the 2012 Moto2 grid is starting to fill out, as teams are starting to find riders for the upcoming season. The provisional grid now stands at 30 riders, with 2 more names likely to be confirmed some time in the next few weeks. With Dorna aiming for a maximum of 32 entries in the class, there is little room for new names to appear in the final run up to the 2012 season opener at Qatar in April.
The majority of the Moto2 list is very much as expected: Toni Elias returns to Moto2 with Aspar, where he joins Aspar's reigning 125cc World Champion Nico Terol; Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone stay where they were, as do Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Mika Kallio, Simone Corsi, Thom Luthi, Ratthapark Wilairot, Randy Krummenacher and Dominique Aegerter. Slightly less expected was Julian Simon moving to the BQR team, while Tito Rabat leaves BQR to take a spot at the Pons squad, alongside Pol Espargaro, who takes the seat at Pons vacated by brother Aleix, who has moved up to MotoGP. Alex de Angelis moves to the Forward Racing team after an impressive year on the Motobi at JiR, while his seat at JiR is taken by Johann Zarco, the Frenchman who pushed Nico Terol so hard to the final 125cc title. Former World Superbike rider Max Neukirchner moves to fill the very big boots left empty by 2011 champion Stefan Bradl at Kiefer, meanwhile.
The latest provisional entry list of Moto2 riders for the 2012 season: