The 2014 Moto3 rider line up (still provisional)
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.
Danny Kent is to return to the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in Moto3 for 2014. The move had been widely anticipated after Kent made the surprise announcement after the Aragon round that he was to leave the Tech 3 Moto2 team. Kent rejoins the Ajo Moto3 team aiming to compete for wins and the Moto3 title, and completes a very strong rider line up in the team. Kent will be teammates with Australian sensation Jack Miller, and the highly regarded Red Bull Rookies Cup winner Karel Hanika. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, currently inside the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, will be shifted out to the one-rider structure currently occupied by Niklas Ajo, with Air Asia backing.
While the Tech 3 MotoGP effort has been well-funded due to the team's association with energy drink brand Monster Energy, the team's Moto2 bikes have been relatively unadorned.
"I don't think it will be between only Dani and me," Jorge Lorenzo had said on Saturday night at Motegi. After qualifying, there was a sizable group of fast men, including Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies, who all looked quick enough to keep pace with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. It turns out he was wrong: once the lights went out, the contest was between the two main title contenders as it has been all season, especially once Casey Stoner dropped out of contention after the massive ankle injury he sustained at Indianapolis.
Qualifying had been deceptive: Jorge Lorenzo took a brilliant pole, and had looked his usual fast and smooth self. Pedrosa had had a bumpy ride - literally, chatter mysteriously appearing early on during QP and taking a long time to get under control, leaving Pedrosa to start from 2nd. The race was similarly deceptive: Lorenzo led, stalked by Pedrosa, and the hearts of race fans beat faster in anticipation of a repeat of Brno. That would not come to be. Once Pedrosa motored by Lorenzo, he was gone, managing the gap all the way to the end.