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Adidas To Sponsor Yamaha MotoGP And Sky VR46 Moto3 Teams In 2014?

Yamaha's MotoGP team looks set to gain another sponsor for 2014. According to the PU24.it website - the same website which broke the news of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess - sportswear manufacturer Adidas is set to sponsor the factory Yamaha team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo next season.

The deal is said to be part of a larger contract, which will involve the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad as well. The deal appears mainly aimed at the Italian market: according to the PU24 website, one of the benefits for Adidas will be better visibility for its ads on the Sky Italia channel, which will be broadcasting MotoGP in Italy next year, and which is also a co-sponsor of Valentino Rossi's Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad. The deal is rumored to be a two-year contract, though how much money is involved is currently unknown.

There is good reason to place some credence in this report. The record of the PU24.it website in matters related to Valentino Rossi is very good indeed. The website has links to Rossi's inner circle, which has helped it break news of Burgess' release, and of Rossi's switch to Ducati. But the deal makes sense from the perspective of Adidas as well. The German sportswear company has a long and bitter rivalry with Puma, the two companies the result of a bitter falling out between the two Dassler brothers who had originally formed the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in Herzogenaurach in the province of Bavaria in Germany. Both Puma and Adidas have spent a lot of money and energy competing against each other, and with Puma being involved with Ducati, providing teamwear for the Italian factory, it is hardly a surprise that Adidas should try to trump their rivals. Puma benefited from their association with Valentino Rossi when he was at Ducati, and by aligning themselves directly with Rossi and his Moto3 team, Adidas could once again go one up on Puma.

As yet, the news is just a rumor, albeit from very well-informed sources. The deal is said to have been concluded shortly before the presentation of the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 team at Valentino Rossi's Tavullia ranch, but an announcement will probably only come in the first days of 2014, after current contracts expire on 31st December. Alpinestars currently supply the team clothing for Yamaha, as well as providing catering services for the team.

For an entertaining and interesting potted history of the dispute between Puma and Adidas, see this article from 2009 on the website of British newspaper The Guardian. There is also some background on the Wikipedia page of Adidas.

Yamaha's MotoGP team looks set to gain another sponsor for 2014. According to the PU24.it website - the same website which broke the news of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess - sportswear manufacturer Adidas is set to sponsor the factory Yamaha team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo next season.The deal is said to be part of a larger contract, which will involve the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad as well. The deal appears mainly aimed at the Italian market: according to the PU24 website, one of the benefits for Adidas will be better visibility for its ads on the Sky Italia channel, which will be broadcasting MotoGP in Italy next year, and which is also a co-sponsor of Valentino Rossi's Team Sky VR46 Moto3 squad. The deal is rumored to be a two-year contract, though how much money is involved is currently unknown.

Marc Marquez Has Nose Surgery To Improve Breathing

Marc Marquez has been back briefly to the operating theater today, where he has undergone surgery to improve his breathing. The reigning world champion was admitted to the Dexeus hospital in Barcelona, where he had an operation to correct a deviated septum, which had hampered his breathing through his nose. Marquez is one of a few riders who uses the nasal plaster strips to keep the nostrils open (see photo below). These strips are said to aid breathing through the nose, and with Marquez suffering a deviated septum, he may have had some benefit from the strips.

The septum is the mixture of cartilage and bone which separates the two nostrils, and if the septum becomes enlarged - a common occurrence after injury - then breathing through the nose can be more difficult. The surgery Marquez underwent is aimed at making the nasal cavity larger, and removing any obstructions, to help him breath more easily. Marquez will have to take a week of rest, before returning to the busy schedule of a world champion, which has included trips to Japan and Monaco. The press release from the Repsol Honda team appears below.

Marc Marquez at Laguna Seca


Marc Marquez undergoes surgery to improve breathing

This afternoon 2013 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez had a successful surgery to correct his nasal bridge in order to improve his breathing through the nose. This operation was necessary due to a deviated septum that produced a respiratory obstruction preventing him breathing properly.

Marc decided to have this procedure during the brief break in his schedule. The surgery took place at the Universitari Quirón Dexeus Hospital and was carried out by Dr. Ángel Chartre, Chief of the Internal Medicine of Hospital Universitari Quirón Dexeus and Dr. Miguel Conti, otorhinolaryngologist at the facility.

Marc must now rest and will be inactive for one week.

Marc Marquez has been back briefly to the operating theater today, where he has undergone surgery to improve his breathing. The reigning world champion was admitted to the Dexeus hospital in Barcelona, where he had an operation to correct a deviated septum, which had hampered his breathing through his nose. Marquez is one of a few riders who uses the nasal plaster strips to keep the nostrils open (see photo below). These strips are said to aid breathing through the nose, and with Marquez suffering a deviated septum, he may have had some benefit from the strips.The septum is the mixture of cartilage and bone which separates the two nostrils, and if the septum becomes enlarged - a common occurrence after injury - then breathing through the nose can be more difficult. The surgery Marquez underwent is aimed at making the nasal cavity larger, and removing any obstructions, to help him breath more easily. Marquez will have to take a week of rest, before returning to the busy schedule of a world champion, which has included trips to Japan and Monaco. The press release from the Repsol Honda team appears below.

2014 World Superbike And World Supersport Provisional Calendar Released - With Many Question Marks

At long last, the FIM and Dorna have released a calendar for the World Superbike and World Supersport classes for 2014. The calendar features fourteen World Superbike events, but it is still very much a provisional list, with three of the fourteen still subject to contract, and the final race still marked as to be confirmed, with neither the location nor the country known.

The season kicks off as always in Australia, the World Superbike and World Supersport classes headed to the Phillip Island circuit for the opener on 23rd of February. There follows another WSBK tradition: the interminable wait for round 2. In 2014, there are seven weeks between the first and second rounds, with the second event taking place at the Motorland Aragon circuit just outside of Alcañiz. The WSBK circus then takes off for a tour through Europe, heading to Assen, Imola and Donington Park, before heading overseas again to Sepang, and a Malaysian round. Two rounds in Europ follow, at Misano and Portimao, before the World Superbike class heads to Laguna Seca, taking the slot vacated by the MotoGP class. 

Another eight week layoff follows, WSBK only reconvening again at Jerez in early September, before heading east to Russia, then back to France and Magny Cours. The season then winds up overseas, with a return to South Africa - to Welkom, this time, rather than Kyalami - before the final 'mystery' round on 2nd November, taking place overseas. That final round could possibly be another attempt to race in India, at the Buddh Internation Circuit outside Delhi, or it could be a return to South America, at either the Argentinian or Brazilian circuit.

Two names are missing from the 2014 World Superbike calendar. That World Superbikes would not be returning to Silverstone had already been announced, but confirmation has also come that Monza has been dropped from the calendar over safety concerns. Despite both its legendary status in World Superbike history, the circuit is no longer able to provide the safety required by the performance of modern superbikes. Safety is manageable in the dry, but as recent years demonstrated, the track is not safe enough in the wet.

The 2014 provisional WSBK calendar is shown below.

FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup 2014 provisional calendar, 29 November

DATE COUNTRY CIRCUIT WSBK WSS STK
23 February Australia Phillip Island GP Circuit X X  
13 April Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
27 April The Netherlands TT Assen X X X
11 May Italy Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola X X X
25 May UK Donington Park X X  
08 June Malaysia Sepang International Circuit (STC) X X  
22 June Italy Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli X X X
06 July Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve X X X
13 July USA Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (STC) X    
07 September Spain Circuito de Jerez X X X
21 September Russia Moscow Raceway X X  
05 October France Circuit de Magny-Cours X X X
19 October South Africa Phakisa Freeway (STC) X X  
02 November Overseas TBC X X  

STC = Subject to contract
TBC = To be confirmed

At long last, the FIM and Dorna have released a calendar for the World Superbike and World Supersport classes for 2014. The calendar features fourteen World Superbike events, but it is still very much a provisional list, with three of the fourteen still subject to contract, and the final race still marked as to be confirmed, with neither the location nor the country known.The season kicks off as always in Australia, the World Superbike and World Supersport classes headed to the Phillip Island circuit for the opener on 23rd of February. There follows another WSBK tradition: the interminable wait for round 2. In 2014, there are seven weeks between the first and second rounds, with the second event taking place at the Motorland Aragon circuit just outside of Alcañiz. The WSBK circus then takes off for a tour through Europe, heading to Assen, Imola and Donington Park, before heading overseas again to Sepang, and a Malaysian round. Two rounds in Europ follow, at Misano and Portimao, before the World Superbike class heads to Laguna Seca, taking the slot vacated by the MotoGP class. 

FIM Confirms Doping Ban For West, Results Scrapped

The FIM today issued a press release confirming the 18-month ban imposed retrospectively on Ant West for using banned substances. The Australian has had all of his results scrapped, between 20th May 2012 and 19th October 2013. That includes the two podiums he scored at Sepang and Phillip Island at the end of 2012, meaning that Gino Rea moves up to 2nd at Sepang, and Hafizh Syahrin will be awarded 3rd place (and his first podium), while Marc Marquez takes 2nd at Phillip Island, and Scott Redding adds another podium to his tally to take 3rd.

The official FIM Press release is shown below:


Doping - Decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of rider Anthony West

The FIM has taken note of the Award handed down on 22 November 2013 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the case of rider Anthony West, participant in the 2012 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix in the Moto2 Class.

On 20 May 2012, Anthony West underwent an anti-doping test conducted by the FIM at the 2012 French Grand Prix. The urine sample obtained from Mr West revealed the presence of a stimulant (Methylhexaneamine) prohibited in competition under the FIM Anti-doping Code in force.

Following a decision of 29 October 2012 handed down by the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI) to suspend Mr West for one month, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed to the CAS and called for a 24 month period of ineligibility to be imposed on Mr West.

The case was referred to a three-man CAS Panel. A hearing was held on 21 August 2013 in Lausanne and the parties were heard. The FIM was represented by the Head of its Legal Department, Mr Richard Perret.

The appeal by WADA against the CDI’s decision was only partially upheld. The Panel suspended Anthony West for 18 months from which the one month’s suspension already served was deducted.

Taking into account the considerable delay in the conduct of the case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CAS Panel decided to set the start of the suspension retroactively at 20 May 2012.

Subject to the lodging of any appeal by one of the parties within 30 days with the Swiss Federal Tribunal and as provided for in the CAS Award, all the sporting results obtained by Anthony West from 20 May 2012 up to the expiry of the period of ineligibility (i.e. 19 October 2013) will be invalidated. The FIM will therefore modify the rankings of the 2012 and 2013 FIM Road Racing World Championships Grand Prix, Moto2 Class, accordingly. The FIM will also modify the rankings of the 2012 FIM Endurance Road Racing World Cup.

The FIM today issued a press release confirming the 18-month ban imposed retrospectively on Ant West for using banned substances. The Australian has had all of his results scrapped, between 20th May 2012 and 19th October 2013. That includes the two podiums he scored at Sepang and Phillip Island at the end of 2012, meaning that Gino Rea moves up to 2nd at Sepang, and Hafizh Syahrin will be awarded 3rd place (and his first podium), while Marc Marquez takes 2nd at Phillip Island, and Scott Redding adds another podium to his tally to take 3rd.The official FIM Press release is shown below:Doping - Decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of rider Anthony WestThe FIM has taken note of the Award handed down on 22 November 2013 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the case of rider Anthony West, participant in the 2012 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix in the Moto2 Class.On 20 May 2012, Anthony West underwent an anti-doping test conducted by the FIM at the 2012 French Grand Prix. The urine sample obtained from Mr West revealed the presence of a stimulant (Methylhexaneamine) prohibited in competition under the FIM Anti-doping Code in force.

Rossi To Decide Future After First Six Races Of 2014

Valentino Rossi has acknowledged he is one step closer to retirement. In an interview to be broadcast Italian TV channel Mediaset, the Italian said that the early tests and the first six races of 2014 would be crucial to the future of his career. 'In 2014 I need to be at the front, closer to the first three', Rossi said, referring to the Spanish trio of Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who dominated the 2013 MotoGP season. He has not lost his appetite for racing, Rossi told Italian TV, but he was not content just to circulate. 'I would like to continue for another couple of years, but only if I'm competitive.'

The announcement does not come as a surprise, coming hard on the heels of Rossi's decision to drop Jeremy Burgess as crew chief. At Valencia, Rossi had explained that move as the need to find 'a new boost, some more motivation.' 'I know that it is a key moment because I have in my mind that I want to try one time in another way and I think this is the moment,' Rossi told the media. In the interview with Mediaset, Rossi skirted round the affair with Burgess, while hinting at deeper-seated problems. 'Explaining too many details of what went wrong would be a problem. It's better to think this is just a rider tantrum,' Rossi joked. The decision to drop Burgess looks increasingly like eliminating the final variable before reaching a conclusion about his own ability.

Rossi had already told the press at Valencia that the first few races of 2014 would be crucial, but he had now set a deadline. The date of that deadline is in itself ominous: the sixth race of the 2014 season will be at Mugello, the circuit which is closest to Rossi's heart, and a track where he once dominated, winning seven races in a row between 2002 and 2008. It is also the circuit where Rossi broke his leg in 2010, the first injury of his career serious enough to force him to miss races. If Rossi cannot stay with the three Spaniards at Mugello in 2014, then a retirement announcement seems inevitable. Sunday night at Mugello could be a very emotional experience indeed.

Valentino Rossi has acknowledged he is one step closer to retirement. In an interview to be broadcast Italian TV channel Mediaset, the Italian said that the early tests and the first six races of 2014 would be crucial to the future of his career. 'In 2014 I need to be at the front, closer to the first three', Rossi said, referring to the Spanish trio of Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who dominated the 2013 MotoGP season. He has not lost his appetite for racing, Rossi told Italian TV, but he was not content just to circulate. 'I would like to continue for another couple of years, but only if I'm competitive.'

Gino Rea Brings In Outside Sponsor To Contest 2014 Moto2 Season

Gino Rea's gamble to self-finance his 2013 wild cards has paid off. Yesterday, the young Londoner announced he would be contesting the full 2014 Moto2 season, in a one-rider team based in the USA. Rea has joined forces with the Austin, Texas based World Motors organization to create the World Motors Rea Racing team. The good news for both Rea and the sport is that the team has also attracted a sponsor from outside of the motorcycle industry. AGT is an induction lighting company providing professional lighting products to industry.

Rea will continue to race an FTR Moto2 machine, one of three FTRs which will be on the grid, with the NGM Forward team also racing the British chassis. The press release from Gino Rea and the AGT Rea team appears below:


AGT REA RACING SET TO COMPETE IN THE 2014 MOTO2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WITH GINO REA​

AGT (American Green Technology) will back World Motors Rea Racing team in their entry to the 2014 Moto2 class of World Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) on a full-season basis with their rider, Gino Rea.

Dave Peterson, President and CEO of World Motors, Inc., based in Austin, Texas, has joined forces with new Team Director Martin R. de Rooy in conjunction with Dave and Gino Rea of Rea Racing, to create World Motors Rea Racing LLC. Welcoming AGT on board as title sponsor, World Motors Rea Racing will be known as AGT Rea Racing in what will be the only American-based Moto2 World Motorcycle Grand Prix Racing Team.

AGT REA Racing will compete in what is arguably one of the most competitive motorcycling classes in the world with their debut race taking place under the floodlights of Qatar on March 23rd. Team owner Dave Peterson has expressed his excitement.

“We are excited to support our partner and rider Gino Rea in his quest for Moto2 glory in the 2014 World Championship,” states Peterson. “We’d like to thank AGT for all of their support and sponsorship. We look forward to a fun-filled and successful campaign”

Danny Bogar, CEO of AGT, compares the way in which AGT can transform the lighting industry to the rich history of motorcycling and the innovations in technology that are required to compete at an elite level. “Competing in business and sports is like anything else, you have to stay in the game and anticipate your next move and your competitors’ next move. Build a better bike or your competitor will build a better, faster bike. I like the parallels. It’s a fun sport that draws an international audience. We are happy to be a part of it."

AGT Rea Racing rider Gino Rea has made a promising start to his Moto2 career. Debuting in Moto2 in 2012, he found the podium with a third place finish in the Malaysian Grand Prix . Unfortunately, Gino's team withdrew just before the 2013 season and he was forced to run his own team and budget. Joining forces with the Montáže Brož European Superstock 600 team for the latter part of the 2013 season, Gino benefitted from a more professional set up and the support of a bigger crew. Gino’s talent did not go unnoticed and he was invited to substitute for an injured rider in the Argiñano & Ginés Racing Team. Despite the challenge of getting to know a new bike, Gino more than proved his worth, scoring the team four valuable Moto2 World Championship points and delivering their best performances of the season.

Gino had this to say about the new partnership, “I couldn’t be any happier right now! 2013 was a difficult year for me and I’m over the moon that my hard work has brought me this amazing opportunity. Joining forces with Dave Peterson of World Motors Inc. and Martin R. de Rooy with the support of AGT (American Green Technology), to race in the full Moto2 Championship as a permanent team is just incredible. I am so grateful and I can’t wait to get started. It’s a very exciting time for us. We have worked extremely hard to make this happen and I believe we have the potential to do great things in 2014.

"This year we progressed a lot throughout the season and at the last race of the year as a privateer team, I showed what is capable by qualifying just 0.5 tenths from second position. I can't wait to go testing and work logically and methodically with the bike, it's something we never got to do this year."

Peterson further states, “I am just recovering from the initial terror and trepidation of forming an international racing team. After years of dreaming about this, it’s wonderful to see it become a reality. I’ve always had such a great passion for MotoGP. With Gino’s considerable talent and AGT’s quest for world markets, the decision to form a world class Moto2 Grand Prix team was easy and finally a realization of my dreams.”

The 2014 MotoGP season kicks off at Losail International Circuit on March 23, 2014 in Qatar. www.motogp.com

Learn more about AGT & Gino Rea

About American Green Technology:

American Green Technology® is a leader in efficient technologies and the manufacture and import of “magnetic induction lights”, the most energy efficient mass lighting solution. Boasting a life span over 100,000 hours, induction lights reduce energy costs by 50-70% and virtually eliminate maintenance. Primary markets include municipal, industrial and commercial applications. More than 1,500 independent lighting professionals represent American Green Technology across the United States, and internationally in more than a dozen countries. For more information about AGT, visit www.agtus.org or call 269-340-9975.

Gino Rea's gamble to self-finance his 2013 wild cards has paid off. Yesterday, the young Londoner announced he would be contesting the full 2014 Moto2 season, in a one-rider team based in the USA. Rea has joined forces with the Austin, Texas based World Motors organization to create the World Motors Rea Racing team. The good news for both Rea and the sport is that the team has also attracted a sponsor from outside of the motorcycle industry. AGT is an induction lighting company providing professional lighting products to industry.Rea will continue to race an FTR Moto2 machine, one of three FTRs which will be on the grid, with the NGM Forward team also racing the British chassis. The press release from Gino Rea and the AGT Rea team appears below:AGT REA RACING SET TO COMPETE IN THE 2014 MOTO2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WITH GINO REA​AGT (American Green Technology) will back World Motors Rea Racing team in their entry to the 2014 Moto2 class of World Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) on a full-season basis with their rider, Gino Rea.

Ant West Loses In Doping Appeal Case, Last 18 Months' Results Scrapped

Ant West has been issued a retroactive ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and has had almost all the results for the last 18 months declared invalid. All of West's results between the Le Mans 2012 race and 20th October 2013 have been declared null and void, and will be scrapped from the official Moto2 results.

The retroactive ban goes back to a failed doping test at Le Mans in 2012. West had bought a supplement energy drink without checking the ingredients, and subsequently failed a drug test. The energy drink (Mesomorph) turned out to contain the banned substance methylhexaneamine, traces of which were found in West's urine. At the time, the FIM imposed a one month suspension on West, but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed against the leniency of the ban, and that appeal has now been partially upheld.

The CAS found that West had violated the anti-doping code, and that the use of the banned substance methylhexaneamine offered important short-term benefits in competition, which demanded punishment. However, the CAS were inclined to be more lenient than WADA had hoped, rejecting WADA's call for a two-year ban, and imposing an 18-month penalty. Furthermore, the penalty was imposed retroactively, meaning that West only faced a loss of existing results, rather than a ban from competition from this point on. But the penalty could have financial implications for West, as the Australian had two podiums at Sepang and Phillip Island in 2012, and both those results will now be rendered null and void. West may face claims to return any bonuses or prize money received for those results.

The provisional judgment of the CAS can be read in the PDF file on their website, with the full judgment due to be posted on the CAS website in the coming days.

 

Ant West has been issued a retroactive ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and has had almost all the results for the last 18 months declared invalid. All of West's results between the Le Mans 2012 race and 20th October 2013 have been declared null and void, and will be scrapped from the official Moto2 results.The retroactive ban goes back to a failed doping test at Le Mans in 2012. West had bought a supplement energy drink without checking the ingredients, and subsequently failed a drug test. The energy drink (Mesomorph) turned out to contain the banned substance methylhexaneamine, traces of which were found in West's urine. At the time, the FIM imposed a one month suspension on West, but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed against the leniency of the ban, and that appeal has now been partially upheld.

Husqvarna To Race Rebadged KTM In Moto3 With Kent And Ajo

A day after the provisional entry lists for the Grand Prix classes were released by the FIM, and there's one change already. Today, Husqvarna announced that they would be joining the Moto3 world championship, and fielding a factory team. 

The Red Bull Husqvarna Factory Racing team will be run by Aki Ajo, and have Danny Kent as rider. Furthermore, Husqvarna will also be providing support for Niklas Ajo in the Avant Tecno team.

The announcement that Husqvarna is racing in Moto3 does not mean a brand new bike will be entered. The Husqvarna will be a rebadged KTM, run under a similar arrangement as Gilera and Derbi in the 250cc and 125cc classes, which were really just rebadged Aprilias. Danny Kent's Moto3 bike will be a factory KTM with a Husqvarna badge on the tank. That KTM would use such an arrangement is not unusual: Pierer Industries, the majority stakeholder in KTM, is also 100% owner of Husqvarna, having acquired the brand earlier this year. Husqvarna off-road bikes are currently being produced in KTM's factory in Mattighofen, Austria.

The entry of Husqvarna into Moto3 is very much a return, rather than a new entry. The Swedish brand known for its motocross and other off-road machinery raced in the 250cc class in the mid-Sixties, scoring points with Kent Andersson in 1966. That bike was a single cylinder two stroke built around a modified motocross engine. They also raced in the 500cc class, with another Swede, Bo Granath at the controls. That bike was a 500cc two-stroke twin in a Seeley frame. For a little more background on the subject, see the article on Motoworld.es.

Below is the press release from Husqvarna on their entry in Moto3:


HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLES ENTER 2014 MOTO3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

THE OFFICIAL TEAM WILL BE NAMED RED BULL HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING AND DIRECTED BY TEAM MANAGER AKI AJO. OFFICIAL TEAM RIDER WILL BE BRITAIN’S DANNY KENT.

Husqvarna Motorcycles is pleased to announce their participation in the 2014 Moto3 World Championship, which starts in Doha, Qatar on March 23. The official team will be named Red Bull Husqvarna Factory Racing and directed by team manager Aki Ajo. Official team rider will be Britain’s Danny Kent.

Under the watchful eye of experienced former racer Aki Ajo, who has enjoyed a long and successful career in motorsport racing and team management, Danny Kent will challenge for the Moto3 World Championship title. A second Husqvarna will be ridden by the promising young rider Niklas Ajo from Finland. Stepping into Grand Prix Road Racing in 2014, Husqvarna Motorcycle’s will begin an exciting new racing chapter.

The Moto3 class was introduced in 2012, replacing the 125cc two-stroke category. The class highlights up-and-coming young talent and is a proving ground for racers aiming to progress into Moto2 and eventually into the main MotoGP class. Machinery is restricted to single-cylinder 250cc four-stroke engines. The minimum total weight for motorcycle and rider is 148 kg (326 lb.). Riders in the Moto3 class cannot be older than 28 years.

Stefan Pierer, KTM AG CEO: “Running Husqvarna in the Moto3 World Championship will bring considerable interest to both the category and the brand. With its history of 110 years the Husqvarna brand is highly known throughout the world of racing. The Moto3 stage will give a further boost to grow Husqvarna stronger than ever. We’re looking forward to see great competition next year. ”

Pit Beirer, head of Husqvarna Motorsport: “After our strong commitment to offroad competition, entering the Moto3 World Championship is a new milestone in the history of Husqvarna. With the full support of Mr. Pierer and the Husqvarna Motorcycles Board of Directors, we are extremely excited about this new project. We will bring the best people and all the necessary energies together to give the project the success it deserves. Danny Kent will be our official factory rider, with Niklas Ajo our official support rider. Both hugely talented young racers, we are looking forward to the start of Husqvarna’s new journey into Grand Prix Road Racing.”

A day after the provisional entry lists for the Grand Prix classes were released by the FIM, and there's one change already. Today, Husqvarna announced that they would be joining the Moto3 world championship, and fielding a factory team. The Red Bull Husqvarna Factory Racing team will be run by Aki Ajo, and have Danny Kent as rider. Furthermore, Husqvarna will also be providing support for Niklas Ajo in the Avant Tecno team.The announcement that Husqvarna is racing in Moto3 does not mean a brand new bike will be entered. The Husqvarna will be a rebadged KTM, run under a similar arrangement as Gilera and Derbi in the 250cc and 125cc classes, which were really just rebadged Aprilias. Danny Kent's Moto3 bike will be a factory KTM with a Husqvarna badge on the tank. That KTM would use such an arrangement is not unusual: Pierer Industries, the majority stakeholder in KTM, is also 100% owner of Husqvarna, having acquired the brand earlier this year. Husqvarna off-road bikes are currently being produced in KTM's factory in Mattighofen, Austria.

2014 MotoGP Rider Line Up Announced: 24 Rider Grid Still Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

Though most of the contracts were settled some time ago, there were still a few question marks on the 2014 MotoGP grid. The official entry list released by the FIM today answers some of those questions, but the answers it gives may yet turn out to be wrong. The list features 11 entries to be run under the Factory rules, which means 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season and the freedom to use proprietary software on the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. The remaining 13 bikes will be run as Open entries, which gives them 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines per season, but forces them to use the Dorna-controlled spec software on the Magneti Marelli ECU.

The 2014 season looks set to follow the pattern established in 2013, with Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo likely to dominate. Of interest is the fact that Marc Marquez has been entered with number 93, rather than the number 1 which the world champion is allowed to use, but this may yet change before the start of the season. Marquez would dearly like to retain 93, but Honda is keen to see him run the number 1 plate.

Whether Valentino Rossi can challenge the leaders again will depend in part on how he meshes with his new crew chief Silvano Galbusera, and on whether Yamaha can improve the braking stability of the bike. Rossi will also fear the reduction in fuel, as Yamaha were already struggling to make the bike last the race on 21 liters. 

Much attention will be focused on the newcomers, with Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding both stepping up from Moto2. Espargaro made an impressive debut at the Valencia test, ending the three days a second and a quarter behind Marc Marquez, and not far off the times of Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista.

Among the Open entries, all eyes will be on the battle between the Honda RCV1000R production racer and the Yamaha FTR open class entry. Nicky Hayden and Aleix Espargaro will be the benchmarks, with the first meeting going to Aleix on the Yamaha. The 2013 M1 is already a strong package, and the Valencia test showed that the spec software did not appear to slow the bike down too much. The RCV1000R looks to be slower than expected, suffering most of all from the lower revs the engine runs. Top speed figures showed that the Honda was over 10 km/h down on the factory bikes, where the difference with the Yamaha was negligible.

The provisional entry lists are still a long way from being final. Although Niccolo Canepa appears on the list as riding for Ioda Racing, Canepa has already told GPOne.com that he will not be racing in MotoGP next season, and Ioda issued a press release saying that no agreement had been reached with Canepa, and the search for a second rider continues. The provisional list shows Ioda's choice of machinery as to be announced, but the choices are between the Aprilia ART and Ducati Open projects. The final choice will depend on the financial package available, with Ioda one of the poorer teams in the paddock. If an agreement cannot be found, Ioda can always race the Suter BMWs they already own, though the bike has had no development this year.

The PBM team is also listed as participating, but Paul Bird is believed to be holding off on entering depending on support. PBM, like Ioda, are fishing for stronger support from Aprilia in a bid to make themselves more competitive. This has become a financial necessity, as Dorna will now only be offering the top 22 riders financial support, leaving the weakest team without support. The idea is to send weaker teams back to Moto2 at the end of each season, and tempt the strongest Moto2 teams into stepping up into MotoGP. On the basis of results from 2013, PBM and Ioda are the teams in the danger zone.

Looking at when rider contracts run out, it is clear that 2014 will be a crucial season for everyone. 16 riders have their contracts up for renewal at the end of the season, including both factory Yamaha and both factory Honda men. The summer is likely to be a very busy period for riders and managers, as they look towards their options for 2015. 

The provisional 2014 MotoGP entry list:

No Rider Nationality Bike Factory/Open Contract until
Factory Yamaha
46 Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha M1 Factory 2014
99 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha M1 Factory 2014
           
Repsol Honda
26 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda RC213V Factory 2014
93 Marc Marquez SPA Honda RC213V Factory 2014
           
Factory Ducati
4 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati GP14 Factory 2014
35 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati GP14 Factory 2015
           
Tech 3 Yamaha
38 Bradley Smith GBR Yamaha M1 Factory 2014
44 Pol Espargaro SPA Yamaha M1 Factory 2015
           
LCR Honda
6 Stefan Bradl GER Honda RC213V Factory 2014
           
Gresini Honda
19 Alvaro Bautista SPA Honda RC213V Factory 2014
45 Scott Redding GBR Honda RCV1000R Open 2015
           
NGM Forward
5 Colin Edwards USA FTR Yamaha M1 Open 2014
41 Aleix Espargaro SPA FTR Yamaha M1 Open 2015
           
Pramac Ducati
29 Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati GP14 Factory 2014
68 Yonny Hernandez COL Ducati GP13 Open 2014
           
Cardion AB
17 Karel Abraham CZE Honda RCV1000R Open 2014
           
PBM
70 Michael Laverty GBR PBM/ART Open 2014
  To be confirmed   PBM/ART Open 2014
           
IODA
9 Danilo Petrucci ITA Aprilia ART/Ducati Open  
59 Niccolo Canepa ITA Aprilia ART/Ducati Open  
           
Aspar
7 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Honda RCV1000R Open 2014
69 Nicky Hayden USA Honda RCV1000R Open 2014
           
Avintia Blusens
8 Hector Barbera SPA FTR Kawasaki Open 2015
63 Mike Di Meglio FRA FTR Kawasaki Open 2014

 

Though most of the contracts were settled some time ago, there were still a few question marks on the 2014 MotoGP grid. The official entry list released by the FIM today answers some of those questions, but the answers it gives may yet turn out to be wrong. The list features 11 entries to be run under the Factory rules, which means 20 liters of fuel, 5 engines per season and the freedom to use proprietary software on the spec Magneti Marelli ECU. The remaining 13 bikes will be run as Open entries, which gives them 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines per season, but forces them to use the Dorna-controlled spec software on the Magneti Marelli ECU.The 2014 season looks set to follow the pattern established in 2013, with Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo likely to dominate. Of interest is the fact that Marc Marquez has been entered with number 93, rather than the number 1 which the world champion is allowed to use, but this may yet change before the start of the season. Marquez would dearly like to retain 93, but Honda is keen to see him run the number 1 plate.

2014 Moto2 Rider Line Up Announced: Rabat, Luthi And Terol Favorites, High Expectations Of Lowes

The Moto2 field for next season is even better filled than the Moto3 grid, with 35 entries for 2014. Like Moto3, the two men who fought for the championship have departed, leaving the championship wide open. The departure of Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding for MotoGP leaves Tito Rabat as hot favorite for the title, after the Spaniard had challenged for most of the season. Rabat has switched from the Pons team to join Marc VDS, where he is already off to a strong start, while teammate Mika Kallio has also showed strongly in preseason testing.

Strongest of all has been Tom Luthi, the Swiss rider having topped the timesheets at the Jerez tests so far. Dark horse in the Moto2 class is surely Nico Terol, who had a very strong end to the season after finally being diagnosed with lactose intolerance, a condition which had been troubling him all year. Since his successful diagnosis, Terol won two out of five races.

The arrival of Sam Lowes has been met with much interest. Previous entrants from World Supersport have fallen short of expectations, with both Kenan Sofuoglu and Gino Rea not managing to achieve the results they had hoped for. Lowes got off to a very fast start at Jerez, however, and was quickly within a few tenths of Luthi, and right on the pace of Nico Terol. It is a long season, however, and it remains to be seen how competitive the Speed Up bike will be against the Kalex.

Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom make their debut in Moto2, and clearly have their work cut out for them. The two men were two seconds off the pace on their debut, but that is common given the huge leap from an 80kg bike to a 150kg machine, with totally different characteristics. Both Viñales and Salom have been forced to drop their numbers, as they are teammates in the Pons team, where the Spanish radio station which sponsors the team decides the race numbers to be used. That leaves Viñales racing with number 40 (the contemporary pop radio station), and Salom racing with 80 (the station playing 1980s hits).

The Spanish contingent is strongest in the Moto2 class, with 8 out of 35 riders coming from Spain. That includes two of the men tipped to take the title, but the competition is more international than it appears. Italy has 5 riders on the grid, but the big surprise is the strength of Switzerland, fielding 4 riders in Moto2. The Swiss contingent is strong, too, as it features both the proven stalwart Luthi and Domi Aegerter, who challenged at the front more and more frequently in 2013. There are also 2 Japanese riders on the grid, with Takaaki Nakagami being groomed to step up to MotoGP, though he will have to find more consistency than he did in 2013. The rest of the field is varied: 2 British riders, 2 Frenchmen, 3 German riders, and 2 Malaysians, while Australia, Belgium, Finland, Thailand and the USA all have one rider each. Josh Herrin is the lone American in Moto2, having made the leap after winning the 2014 AMA Superbike championship.

The depth of riders from Asia is gratifying, especially given their competitiveness. Nakagami should be able to fight for race wins this year, and even play a role in the championship, while Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin has already had some impressive results in his wildcard appearances.

The 2014 Moto2 rider line up

No Rider Nationality Bike
Marc VDS
36 Mika Kallio FIN Kalex
53 Tito Rabat SPA Kalex
       
Technomag CarXpert
70 Robin Mulhauser SWI Suter
77 Dominique Aegerter SWI Suter
       
Interwetten Paddock
12 Thomas Luthi SWI Suter
       
Tuenti HP 40 Pons
40 Maverick Viñales SPA Kalex
80 Luis Salom SPA Kalex
       
Mapfre Aspar
18 Nico Terol SPA Suter
81 Jordi Torres SPA Suter
       
Idemitsu Honda Asia
25 Azlan Shah MAL Kalex
30 Takaaki Nakagami JPN Kalex
       
Caterham
2 Josh Herrin USA Suter
5 Johann Zarco FRA Suter
       
IODA
4 Randy Krummenacher SWI Suter
       
NGM Forward
3 Simone Corsi ITA FTR
54 Mattia Pasini ITA FTR
       
Speed Up
22 Sam Lowes GBR Speed Up
88 Alessandro Nocco ITA Speed Up
       
Federal Oil Gresini
7 Lorenzo Baldassari ITA Suter
19 Xavier Simeon BEL Suter
       
La Fonte Tasca
15 Alex De Angelis ITA Suter
       
QMMF
95 Anthony West AUS Speed Up
  To be confirmed   Speed Up
       
Tech 3
23 Marcel Schrotter GER Tech 3
92 Alex Mariñelarena SPA Tech 3
       
Dynavolt Intact
11 Sandro Cortese GER Kalex
       
JIR Moto2
31 Kohta Nozane JPN Motobi
       
Argiñano & Ginés
49 Axel Pons SPA Kalex
94 Jonas Folger GER Kalex
       
Petronas Raceline
55 Hafizh Syahrin MAL Kalex
       
Italtrans
60 Julian Simon SPA Kalex
  To be confirmed   Kalex
       
AGT-Rea Racing
8 Gino Rea GBR FTR
       
Stop and Go
10 Thitipong Warokorn THA Kalex
96 Louis Rossi FRA Kalex

 

The Moto2 field for next season is even better filled than the Moto3 grid, with 35 entries for 2014. Like Moto3, the two men who fought for the championship have departed, leaving the championship wide open. The departure of Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding for MotoGP leaves Tito Rabat as hot favorite for the title, after the Spaniard had challenged for most of the season. Rabat has switched from the Pons team to join Marc VDS, where he is already off to a strong start, while teammate Mika Kallio has also showed strongly in preseason testing.Strongest of all has been Tom Luthi, the Swiss rider having topped the timesheets at the Jerez tests so far. Dark horse in the Moto2 class is surely Nico Terol, who had a very strong end to the season after finally being diagnosed with lactose intolerance, a condition which had been troubling him all year. Since his successful diagnosis, Terol won two out of five races.

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