The rider line up for the 2013 Moto2 season:
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.
In a further sign that motorcycle racing teams are looking east to make up for the sponsorship they have lost in the west, the Gresini Racing Moto2 team today announced that Indonesian oil company Federal Oil is to back Gino Rea, one of Gresini's two Moto2 riders, in the Moto2 class. The news had already slipped out in the Gresini press release announcing Rea as their second rider, alongside Ratthapark Wilairot, but now the news has been announced officially.
Federal oil joins a growing list of Asian sponsors in MotoGP. Though Yamaha lost Malaysian petroleum giant Petronas, they gained Japanese oil company ENEOS; both Yamaha and Honda receive backing from their Indonesian distribution network; Rea's teammate is backed by Thai Honda; and in Moto3, Malaysian budget airline AirAsia is backing Zulfahmi Khairuddin in the Ajo team, joining Danny Kent, Sandro Cortese and Arthur Sissis, though they are supported by Red Bull.
One of the longest-running rider signing sagas has finally reached the conclusion that everyone expected. On the eve of the final Moto2 test of the preseason at Jerez, Gresini has at last confirmed that they will be fielding Gino Rea in the 2012 Moto2 championship. Rea had been testing the Moriwaki with the Gresini team for months now, yet an official announcement of the contract was not forthcoming. On Sunday, the team finally issued a press release naming both Ratthapark Wilairot and Gino Rea as the teams riders in Moto2.
Rea and Wilairot will be competing under different colors. Wilairot will be riding with backing from AP Honda, distributor of the manufacturer in his native Thailand. Rea will be racing in the colors of Indonesian oil company Federal Oil - another Indonesian brand being added to MotoGP, showing the shift in sponsorship eastwards - and will be supported by the Ukrainian Crimea Grand Prix circuit.
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.
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 latest provisional entry list of Moto2 riders for the 2012 season:
The official press release from the Gresini Press Office announcing they will be racing at Valencia:
Press release previews of Assen from the 125cc and Moto2 teams:
RW Racing GP in TVM-colors