Trouble In Moto2: Pasini Out, Discord In MZ

Despite the bumper crop of entries in the Moto2 class, money is tight, and problems abound. Six races into the season, those problems are starting to come to the boil, as budgets and arguments start to wear thin.

The first victim of the situation is JiR Moto2's Mattia Pasini. The popular Italian has split with the team, run by Luca Montiron, reportedly over "sponsorship problems". According to statements by Montiron over on the official MotoGP.com website, Pasini had failed to meet his commitments to the team's sponsors. Montiron also denied that the Pasini split had anything to do with the Italian's poor result, though the trenchant and vociferous criticism Pasini has aimed at the bike - running under the name Motobi, but basically using a chassis supplied by the Japanese firm TSR - did not endear him to the team. Nor did the contrast with his teammate Simone Corsi, who has had a series of strong rides on the Motobi, have anything to do with Pasini's departure, according to Montiron.

But JiR is not the only team with problems. According to the website of the German magazine Motorrad, a split has also appeared in the MZ team, fielding Australian favorite Ant West. The team was being run jointly by the two German ex-250 stars Martin Wimmer and Ralf Waldmann, but Waldmann has stepped out of the team. The former 250 Grand Prix winner left the team over frustrations over a lack of funds, according to Motorrad. "I was tired of not having any mechanics and having to do everything at the racetrack myself," Waldmann told Motorrad. "There's parts missing front and back."

The perilous state of the MZ team is surely the cause of the problems for the struggling West. The Australian started the season with high hopes - especially given the outstanding results West had scored in World Supersport in previous years - but is currently at the very bottom of the Moto2 World Championship standings with just a solitary point.

The MZ team is not the only team in trouble, with continual rumors in the paddock that a number of teams are unlikely to last the season. Even the high-profile RSM Team Scot, fielding former MotoGP riders Alex de Angelis and Niccolo Canepa, have run into problems, the owner of the title sponsor being forced to bail out the team out of his own pocket. And Team Scot is not the only team in the danger zone, with more expected to fail before the season ends. 

The problems are unsurprising, given the huge size of the Moto2 field. The reasons for the packed grid are twofold: part planning for the future, and part fear the new class would fail. The fear of failure explains the number of former 125cc teams stepping up to the Moto2 class, and finding themselves out of their depths. Dorna and IRTA expect a number of teams to drop back to the 125cc class next season, filling out a 125 field with a noticeable lack of talent behind the front 5 or 7. 

But there are a number of teams currently in Moto2 who have been parked there with an eye for the future. Once the new rules come in in 2012, three or four teams are expected to step up into MotoGP, to run 1000cc engines in prototype chassis as Claiming Rule Teams. With two years of experience running production-based engines in a prototype chassis, those teams should be ready to help pack out the grid in the woefully thin MotoGP class. After all, the rider shakeup of next year will only deflect attention from the state of MotoGP for a season, before everyone starts noticing there are still only 17 bikes on the grid.

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Comments

The performances of these two Italians this year is to me the most surprising in Moto2. I thought De Angelis had ridden well enough to stay in MotoGP, in fact he was my Moto2 tip - oh dear that's a fair few eggs on my face! That wet win in Mugello last year showed Pasini knows what he's doing on two wheels. Strange they haven't made it happen in Moto2.

Both are talented riders and the sort we need up at the top table.

Total votes: 58

Pasini struggling is a shocker. DeAngelis seems to have had some bad luck. Moto2 seems to be such a crap shoot. The top riders are all top riders. But down through the 30 points scorers are some folks who "should" be contenders. I don't think 20 riders suddenly got bad over the winter. It happens to some every year, but this kind of change is pretty shocking. Maybe Pasini will get a shot on Aoyama's bike. I'd be more comfortable with that choice, if I were Hiroshi.

Total votes: 74

Contraction in Moto2 is predictable. GP has been killing teams and manufacturers since the beginning, but the true measure of a formula is whether the class can attract a steady stream of new entrants to replace the dead wood. After incredible initial success in 2003, MotoGP has intentionally failed to replace the deadwood with new entrants. Hopefully, Moto2 will continue to generate interest.

I think the failure of DeAngelis and Canepa was predictable when the class stats were announced. Both of them are much too big to be towed around by 135kg 125hp 600cc Moto2 bikes. DeAngelis has overachieved in my mind, but his bad luck has been startling. MZ looked ill-equipped as well. Hopefully, the lot of them will find nice rides in WSBK. I don't know what to say about Pasini. He's got talent, but Corsi is making Pasini look incompetent.

American Honda will be dipping their toes into the Moto2 pool later on this season. I hope some other teams attempt to test the Moto2 waters as well. The class could probably shed about 10 riders and be slightly better off, but you always want to know there are people waiting in the wings.

Total votes: 63

Always seems to be on a dog of a bike. The MZ looks like a piece of crap and if Waldmann is out then there is not much left there. Ant gives 110% on these bad rides and always races hard on the equipment given. In tests where there has been other riders on the same bike he has been fast so I would just LOVE to see him on a bike that was fast in a team that could put him where he should be.

Total votes: 72

He was on a fast bike with Yamaha supersport and did OK. It would just be tough to get a chance with them again. Maybe if his team folds and the Interwitten team is looking for someone with MotoGP experience he'll be available. It seems as though the supply of riders with carbon brake/bridgestone experience is growing from when yamaha was looking for someone to ride the Fiat Yamaha.

Total votes: 63

Firstly, the MZ is not a piece of crap. I might be biased, because I'd love this company to do well and rise from the ashes, but it is the only bike in the entire Moto2 field with truly original and innovative concepts which in itself should get some respect for the sheer bravery. It's surely not up to the competition yet, but that's a question of financing to develop it more and as we've seen, money is scarce at the moment.

Secondly, nothing really changes with Waldmann out. Him and Wimmer were both responsible for the team management and one of the reasons Waldmann got out of their racing programme is because he said there can't be two bosses. Wimmer is the one who developed the bike and who has the technical responsibility. After Waldmann got out they also hired three new mechanics, so the team itself is still very much there.

What Waldi's absence at the circuits does show however is how deep in trouble the team really is. But it already was before - otherwise he wouldn't have quit - the only difference now being that also people outside the paddock or German media notice it.

Total votes: 73

I thought it was just a steel framed and swing-armed bike with normal teleforks and linkage shock rear? Were there other innovative technical features?

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 65

I heard that they're running 10 year old WSBK forks.

Total votes: 64

But does any other bike in Moto2 have the steel tubular trellis frame or just the same type of swingarm? Not as far as I can see.

And the front fork system of the MZ - though "a work in progress" - is also a patented prototype. They began the year with a standard Öhlins fork, but start working with the new system throughout the season.

More info? Here. http://www.roadracerx.com/breaking-news/mz-to-make-grand-prix-return-in-...

Total votes: 73

Having the only steel trellis frame/swingarm in Moto2 makes them unique, but since steel trellis frames and steel swingarms have been around for at least a century they are neither original nor innovative.

As far as the fork, they have been and are still running an Ohlins fork and the only prototype of the floating headstock system I have seen was on a mountain bicycle. They have good intentions but until they actually build and test with one it is vaporware.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 70

Well yes if you consider a fair few fourth's and a second place on a satelite MotoGP Honda overachieving. Canepa is a big lad and suffers accordingly on small middle weight machines, not de Angelis. Alex was unlucky to lose his ride to Melandri in my books. He could become another Suzuki victim 2011. But perhaps that's a fate worse than death.

Total votes: 80

I really had high hopes for him this year. When the season started I figured it would be Elias and Pasini fighting it out... I was half right. They should definitely get Pasini on Hiro's bike though, would that violate the rookie rule? As for De Angelis, maybe I'm still sore about Misano last year but I wasn't expecting much from him in the new class. If anyone got cheated out of a MotoGP bike it was Elias. I wonder what his plans are next year? It would be cool to see him back on a big bike but at the same time he could become the Rossi of moto2!

Total votes: 65

Sure wish there was a innovative frame,fork,swingarm combination from the USA on the Moto2 grid. Just sayin............

Total votes: 73

Maybe he thought it was a step down and didn't want the bother but if anyone has the knowledge to build a top quality MotoGP feeder class chassis for a spec engine it is Roberts.

I tried to get a grid position, but to no avail.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 77

KR couldn't get the budget together. He's been working on something for a long time, and it might come together in 2012. I stress might, though. 

Total votes: 77

It's sad that a racer/tuner/team owner/developer of KR's caliber can't raise the money for a Moto2 grid slot.

Here's to hoping he's the first in line with a CRT bike in 2012.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 74

Is this the project that is supposed to involve MGM in Las Vegas as sponsors, and be spread over a few different motorsport series?

Total votes: 76

BTW that was a poke at you(lol). Didnt know that you submitted for a spot,I thought you backed off when they came out that it would be a "control" engine? Musta missed it in the blog(been following from the get go BTW). Regardless I would love to see ya'lls roller out there in Moto2 or Moto3.

Total votes: 75

Even though I don't like the formula, if we were given the chance to run on the world stage I would have taken it in a second.

I'll be happy to just get it rolling and will race it wherever I can get my foot in the door.

Chris
moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 66

As always,best of luck to ya!! Wish I had the means to help more than just spreading the word and direction to the blog.

Total votes: 72

IIRC FTR produced and helped develop the KR MotoGP chassis. FTR build and sell their own Moto2 chassis. That may have had some impact as well.

If KR couldn't get FTR to build an exclusive chassis, he may not have wanted to bother with it. Money was a concern as well, I'm sure.

Total votes: 81