Moto2 & Moto3 Silly Season Updates: Herrin & Zarco To Caterham, Honda's Moto3 Plans, Rins' Moto2 Option
More changes are afoot in the Moto2 and Moto3 field for next season. With the lack of any American talent coming through from the support classes - despite the outstanding results of Joe Roberts in both the Red Bull Rookies Cup and in AMA Supersport, and the clear talent of riders such as Cameron Beaubier and Jake Gagne - the news that Josh Herrin is to race in Moto2 in 2014 will be well received. Herrin announced the news himself on Sunday night, after wrapping up the 2013 AMA Superbike championship, defeating three-time champion Josh Hayes to do so.
Herrin had been refused to answer questions on who he had signed with, but informed paddock gossip suggested that Herrin had signed with the new Caterham Moto2 squad. Caterham, which is linked to the F1 team of the same name, and races with backing from Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, will race a Suter chassis next season, and will see Frenchman Johann Zarco race alongside Herrin in Moto2. Herrin's switch to Moto2 had been in some doubt, as there were question marks in the paddock over both Herrin's outright ability and the sponsorship he would bring to the team. The AMA Superbike title helped remove one of those question marks, and the fact that Herrin is signed must mean that the other has also been removed.
In Moto3, there is more and more confirmation that Honda will be building a high-powered engine to defeat KTM. There had been a fierce internal debate inside HRC over whether to spend the money necessary to beat KTM at their own game, as the cost of the actual engine will be vastly more than the 12,000 euro price cap in Moto3. However, facing humiliation at the hands of KTM - who have found other ways to pass on the costs, hiding engine development costs in the price of a complete bike package - Honda has decided to act.
To defeat KTM, they will also need a winning team, and that team will be the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez. The team, run by Monlau, the organization behind Marc Marquez and Maria Herrera's Spanish championship team, will make the switch to Honda for 2014, and take on the KTMs. With Rins and Marquez being two of the top favorites for the 2014 Moto3 title, along with Jack Miller, Honda should have everything in place to defeat the KTMs.
Whether Rins stays in Moto3 is still not 100% certain, however. Rins is believed to have a clause in his contract which says that if he wins the 2013 Moto3 title, he will enter Moto2 with the Monlau team. On the strength of Rins' performance at Aragon, his chances of being Moto3 champion are improving.
The Monlau team will not be the only one on a Honda. Racing Team Germany is also to remain with the Japanese manufacturer, and with Jack Miller having signed for the Red Bull KTM team, RTG has signed Efren Vazquez to race for them in 2014. Who Vazquez' teammate will be is as yet unknown, but the chances of it being a young rookie look promising.