Kevin Schwantz To Run Roger Lee Hayden As Moto2 Wildcard At Indy

Many US race fans were both excited and puzzled by Roger Lee Hayden's announcement that he would be racing a Pedercini Kawasaki in World Superbikes. Excited, because Rog, as Nicky Hayden's younger brother is affectionately called, is highly rated in the States; puzzled because although Hayden is good on a Superbike, his great strength - and his biggest successes, including an AMA Supersport title - is in riding a 600, rather than a thousand. Why did Roger Lee not jump on a Moto2 bike, the fans asked. The answer was simple: money, or rather a lack of it for Hayden to race in Moto2. 

Fortunately for Hayden, and for the US fans who are convinced of his abilities, the American is to ride in Moto2 after all. Hayden has been named as a wildcard rider for the Moto2 race at Indianapolis, at the end of August. Hayden will ride a Moriwaki MD600 fielded by the Erion Honda team, one of the strongest teams in the AMA paddock, and supported by American Honda. 

But there is even better news for MotoGP fans outside of the US. The team is to be led by 500cc legend and former World Champion Kevin Schwantz. Schwantz has been linked with a team management role in the Grand Prix paddock for a couple of years now, and has clearly been looking for the right opportunity to come along. That has finally happened.

The biggest surprise will be to see Schwantz in a Honda shirt. The Texan is inextricably linked in the public imagination with Suzuki, and seeing Schwantz with the Honda wing on his shirt will be a very strange sight. But Schwantz has been using Honda CBR600RRs at his Schwantz racing school this year, and so the links to Suzuki have been weakening a little for a while.

Here's the official press release from American Honda:


American Honda Announces Additional Moto2 Team Details

Torrance, CA: Following an earlier release outlining American Honda's intention to participate in the Moto2 class at the 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, August 27 to 29, American Honda now announces that the team will be led by Kevin Schwantz.

Schwantz, the 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion, has a wealth of racing knowledge and currently runs the Schwantz School, where riders can learn from the best aboard Honda CBR600RR machines. "It's an honor for me to be chosen as team manager," said Schwantz. "We've been using CBR600RRs for some time now at our schools, and I've ridden a Moto2 bike and it's very good. I watched the first three Moto2 races and I expect the racing to be just as good at Indy."

Led by Schwantz, the team will field a Honda-powered Moriwaki MD600 ridden by wild card entry Roger Lee Hayden.

Roger Lee Hayden has a solid history with American Honda, and a string of 12 national road race victories on 600cc machines en route to a Supersport championship. Along with his siblings Nicky and Tommy, the Hayden brothers are American racing royalty, and the Indy GP will give American fans another opportunity to see Roger racing on American soil. At 27, Hayden also qualifies to race as a wild card entry: Moto2 rules require all wild card riders to be 28 years old or younger.

"This is a great opportunity for me to race in front of my home crowd at a MotoGP event," said Roger, who is currently competing in the World Superbike Championship. "The Moto2 class is really competitive and I'm looking forward to jumping in the middle of it."

The team will be staffed by Erion Racing technicians led by Kevin Erion. Erion Racing has been American Honda's premier support team for more than 15 years, winning 16 national championships—many of them with Honda's CBR600 in the process. "We're excited to partner with American Honda again and participate in our first World- Championship event," said Kevin Erion.

The American Honda Indy GP Moto2 team will also benefit the Ride for Kids® (RFK) program and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation® (PBTF) through special fund-raising activities. At Indy, for example, Schwantz will lead the Lap of Champions, where 300 participants will join him in a lap around the track in a special fund-raiser that benefits the PBTF by raising funds to promote childhood brain tumor research.

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Comments

Definitely strange to see Schwantz in Honda livery. I was not aware of his running CBRs in his school, so ....things change. Hopefully Roger Lee can show his stuff. He is another nice fellow,like his brother(s).Been a bit banged up in the recent past.

Total votes: 111

Why does a wildcard entry need Schwantz and a team manager. Or need a team manager at all? I suppose Schwantz' involvement could just be intended to attract media attention but it suggests that there might be an actual entry planned.

Perhaps, the media attention could help attract the sponsorship such an effort would need.

Of course, the open question is, what would American Honda gain from a Moto2 team?

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Total votes: 107

Possible this could be an appetizer for what could be a permanent entry in Moto2 next year? This wildcard entry, if done well by Rog, Kelvin & Erion could definately help coax sponsors for a full championship in 2011! What better way to negotiate a deal by showing a good wildcard result rather than talk?

I really love to see Rog riding a 600cc like he's born to be, Kelvin back in the midst of it all and Erion moving up to a world level.

Wish Rog all the best for a decent result in Indy! Moto2 in Mugello shows anyone could win or podium, especially being a local :)

Total votes: 96

Andrea Iaonne is not just "anyone". He's been a gp regular for quite a few years and won a few 125cc races last year and was right up there in points early in the year.

Total votes: 97

surley theres a red bull link in here some were? schwantz/red bull rookies and red bull and americas perception of of the haydens and a proper honda effort (well practicaly honda) on the moriwaki side??

id of thought the so called "cheaper to run in series" would attract the attentions of red bull for a full on moto2 redbull/honda caloboration

could just be a stab in the dark to guage intrest i suppose

Total votes: 95

Nice to see that Roger Lee will have a go at Indy, but oddly enough he has less experience at his home track than many of his competitors.

This project is good, but I hope it is part of a new team for 2011. Moto2 doesn't really lend itself to a single wild card event b/c the upfront costs are quite high, and it is entirely possible that you won't even make it through the first turn on race day.

Maybe this is just an expeditionary project to assess the possibility of running Roger for 2011.

Total votes: 108

As great as it is seeing Roger in World Superbike, it's tough because I know that he'd be a lot faster if not for that Pedercini bike. At Miller he was riding the hell out of that thing, and got up to fourteenth, but was getting blown away on the straight.
I think that this Moto2 deal is very interesting. I wonder if it hints that Roger is ready to depart his long-time Kawasaki association in favor of picking up where he left off with Erion/American Honda? Could be a good idea at this point as Kawasaki seem to be struggling in everything but World Supersport, but only if American Honda intend on making a permanent switch to Moto2 next year. It could be a great thing for America, the Moto2 series, Roger - basically everyone involved would benefit from having an all-American team out there.
As it stands, if Kenny Noyes isn't battling near the front, I'm not likely to watch it, because I'm not a big fan of any of the riders, even if the racing is close. But if Roger was racing, I'd watch every one.
Hope it turns out well. I'll be there to find out either way.

Total votes: 101

American Honda is different from Honda itself.

However, my central question is the same: what does American Honda gain from participation in a world championship? I can understand Erion's desire to be involved as there is a direct marketing link but American Honda just represents US Honda dealers (from a marketing perspective) and Moto2 doesn't sell bikes.

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Total votes: 106

If American Honda cannot advertise a specific bike, why would they boost Roger Hayden into Moto2?

I can only foresee a few different scenarios: 1. The AmHon Moto2 project really is just an FU to DMG 2. American Honda want RLH associated with their brand, but they know he will not return to DSB 3. American Honda is attempting to reach a deal with Moriwaki (or other companies) and the FIM which will allow AmHon to act as the importer and distributor for Moto2 bikes and Honda engine prep for Moto2.

Total votes: 101

Just remembered that I saw a Moriwaki MD600 (and an MD250h) at Miller Motorsports Park under the American Honda tent. I asked if it was an old test mule, and they said, no, that they thought the bike had been raced.

Total votes: 95

chris - hahaha - that is completely brilliant! well put! :)

Total votes: 118

It's cool that Roger will be racing in Moto2, but on a new team with a new bike, it's guaranteed he will finish back of the pack. I guess he's getting used to it this year. Sounds like Roger had opportunities to ride in Moto2 from the beginning of the season. He should think about his career instead of just dollars. Riding a crappy bike and coming in last isn't doing him any good.

Total votes: 103

Roger Hayden has had success on a 600 in 2007, but why give him the ride ahead of all the current young guns in AMA 600 Supersport/Sportbike racing? he is only one year off being too old for a wild card and has shown no form since joining WSB despite being on the slowest bike (he doesn't look any more inmpressive than his team mate at Pedercini).

There are lots of young guys in AMA such as Josh Herrin, PJ Jacobsen, Danny Eslick etc that are far more deserving of this ride and are probably only held back by being tied into contracts with other factories (as was Hayden I thought), but what about the current Erion Honda riders?

Hayden was 'helped' into his current team because the organisers wanted more US riders in the series (as was Jason DiSalvo in WSS) so I find it a bit galling to him him 'assisted' into another decent world championship ride at the expense of young riders deserving a wild card ride.

Total votes: 101

Vling: I don't think Rog is thinking of dollars at all. Most Moto2 deals at this point aren't paying that well anyway, if at all. Some are even requiring that a rider bring sponsorship money into the team. Even DeAngelis only got his ride because he brought a lot of money to the table.
I doubt Rog is making much from Pederchini either.

And as for adrenalinmoto's comment about him not impressing on the pederchini bike, he has fairly consistantly beaten his teammate almost every weekend, a teammate who is not having to learn the tracks every weekend, like Roger is. Also, the '10 kawi is a terrible bike with some innate flaws that even the factory team, with all their funding can not overcome.

At Miller Motorsports Park, a track Hayden knows, he ran as high as fourteenth, and was challenging the factory Kawi's the whole time, though his team has but a fraction of the funding. During qualifying he was faster in the last complex than Jakub Smrz, who qualified in first place, but was blown away on the front straight.

Regarding other young riders getting wildcats rides, I agree, it would be nice to see that, but at the moment, they are all vying for the Daytona Sportbike Championship. When I spoke with Herrin at Miller, he said that Yamaha would not let him do any wildcard rides because it risked him getting injured and loosing the championship. I suspect that is the case with Eslick and Cardenas as well.

If Roger gets a chance to test a few times, I don't see him finishing at the back of the pack. After all, his bike will be at least equal to Elias' machinery. I'd love to see an American on an American team go out there and whip some @$$!

Total votes: 93

I thought only 125cc has a age limit, I'm pretty sure Alex Debon is quite a few years older then 28. I think he is like 34 or around there. I know 250cc never had a age limit.

Total votes: 99

There is an age limit of 28 for wild card riders in all classes I think, which is the whole point of running wild cards at all - to give young riders experience at GP level. RL Hayden has plebnty of experience already and has raced as a wild card at MotoGP level too, so in my view should be excluded from the list of eligible riders for this Moto2 wild card race. A wild card rider isn't there to be competitive but to get experience for GP racing. I think this US Moto2 team has kind of lost sight of that amd is trying to prove something by getting Schwantz in to manage it (for one race?) and using a rider that would normally not be considered wild card material.

Alex Debon is a regular season long rider so has no age barrier to contend with (just has to stop falling off!). If 28 was the maximum age limit for everyone then Rossi would have retired a long time back :(

Total votes: 101

MotoGP has no age limit for Wild Cards.

In Moto2 it is 28 but there is no age limit for contracted riders. 125 is 25 for wildcards and 28 for contracted riders.

I'm not really sure why the age limit matters in RLH's case as long as he is under it. What is "wild card material"? We have seen wildcards from all over the age spectrum but I would be willing to bet that in MotoGP, wildcards have mostly been over the average age of the regular MotoGP field.

Wildcards serve two purposes: to give some exposure to the national race series talent of the host country and occasionally, the test out a replacement for a rider that isn't working out. A wildcard entry is almost never an audition.

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Total votes: 110