Bradl To Sign MotoGP Contract With LCR Honda "In Next Few Days"

When Stefan Bradl was given the chance to ride the 2011 Honda RC212V fielded by the LCR Honda team, the official explanation that it was as a reward for winning the 2011 Moto2 World Championship was accepted as plausible for about a day. From that point on, it became increasingly clear that this was to be a general audition for Bradl to secure a slot on the 2012 MotoGP grid. It was an audition he was to pass with flying colors, and in an interview with the German website Motorrad Magazin, Bradl has admitted that he expects to make an official announcement on joining the LCR Honda team in the next week or so.

The move had become almost inevitable. Bradl had looked smooth and comfortable on the bike ridden last season by 2010 Moto2 champion Toni Elias, and his times had been equally impressive, beating the time set by Elias at the Valencia test last year by nearly two-thirds of a second. But the factor which appears to have clinched the deal was his interaction with the team. Crew chief Christophe Bourgignon had been extremely impressed by the German, saying that he had a "fast processor" and had listened and learned quickly. Team boss Lucio Cecchinello had been equally positive, and reports coming out of the team seemed to suggest that a deal was waiting just for Honda's blessing. Given the broad smile on Livio Suppo's face, that is surely just a formality.

The contract should be signed "within one or two weeks," Stefan's father Helmut Bradl said in an interview carried by Motorsport Total. "The LCR Honda team is the best option for us," Helmut Bradl said. "I saw smiles on faces in that garage again." 

Bradl had earlier abandoned any thoughts of moving to MotoGP, despite having had several options during the season. His first chance had come very early on, when Herve Poncharal had offered the German a seat in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, a seat which Bradl had turned down. An attempt to persuade the Kiefer team to move up to MotoGP had failed, after sponsor Viessmann had balked at the amount of money required. The German heating firm had also been having doubts about the suitability of MotoGP as a sponsorship platform, as the company has been profiling its green energy solutions over recent years.

So the option at LCR came as something as a surprise, after earlier deciding to stay in Moto2 for another season. Bradl's promotion was encouraged by Dorna, the series promoter keen both to have a German in the premier class again - a key selling point for the large German TV market - and to have the 2011 Moto2 champion make amends for the dismal performance of the 2010 champion Toni Elias. Elias' miserable time at LCR Honda - down almost entirely to his inability to get on with the Bridgestone tires - had made Moto2 look like very poor preparation for MotoGP, which was the intention of the class. Having another top Moto2 rider enter the class is vital for Dorna to validate the switch from 250cc two-strokes to 600cc four-stroke engines.

Once Bradl's contract is officially announced, MotoGP awaits just the decision of Suzuki, and the completion of the Claiming Rule Teams' line up. The Suzuki decision is imminent, but the CRTs may take a little longer to assemble the riders and equipment necessary for next season.

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Comments

Considering the financial situation he was in, it's great to see him get such a good result.

A well deserved seat imho. Good on him.

Total votes: 148

As a kid (and even as an adult), when I made a statement in the affirmative about event outcomes based on variables that were not absolute, my mom used to dismiss me by saying aloud to no one "if my aunt had balls she would be uncle."

What's the point, you ask? If Marquez had not been bitten in Sepang the title would have ended up another way. Period. As has been stated, while Mark couldn't keep it rubber-side-down while Stefan was running away with the title the first 1/3 of the season, momentum changed and Mark was simply unbeatable. If Mark has determined that he is not ready for MotoGP, how is it that Stefan has? Did he win in that convincingly a fashion? Is he believing his own press? I believe the story of Hubris started in similar way...

While coming from a guy that barely fits into a size 60 racesuit that's too afraid to trailbrake, he is not ready. He should stay and battle it out for another year with Mark in order to determine the champ. Besides, Mark should want someone between him and DeAngelis - the human torpedo.

With few notable exceptions the "Baptisim by Fire" experiment that is MotoGP does not lend itself to long and successful careers. Stefan should stay in Moto2 and leave the grid wanting a German rider for another year.

all of the above is of course prefaced with IMHO...

Total votes: 169

...then when can it be determined when a rider is suited to jump from Moto 2 to MotoGP?

For example, I recall Randy Mamola and Freddie Spencer coming to the premier class under 19 years old. Their experience regarding world champs machinery, environment and the required nomadic way of life was much, much inferior to guys like Stefan Bradl or Marc Marquez, who have been around GP racing since their early teens, on 125cc.

Look at Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa (and others), all around 20 yoa when they got in the upper class.

I think Bradl is a type of rider that can become quite interesting for MotoGP. People rave so much about Marquez but forgot about Bradl's impressive performance.
He's technical and has proven to stay cool when many would lose the edge and crack. He has a nice background (GP racing is in the family blood) and vast experience.
True that he brought his Moto2 title home under some "weird destiny" episodes over his closest rival, but he has proven worthy at the height of his 22 years of age.

...I say bring him to the big arena, and "...FIGHT!" (Mortal Kombat style voice-over)

Total votes: 134

to be one of those guys that knows it all; unfortunately, I came to fall in love with the international motorcycle racing much too late in life, so my history is limited to only the last 6 or 7 years and then from rewatching as many dvds as I can find. From what I know of these two you mention, they were both awesome but one went on to went several WC's and the other went on to be acknowledged as the best to never be crowned.

I am not suggesting that age is necessarily a factor when talking about experience - I look at Mark as a guy more ready to be challenging the aliens sooner rather than later. Remembering how he charged through the pack at Phillips Island to grab 4th was amazing and it forces you to remember another guy that had a similarly remarkable result at the Island.

The grids, since I have been watching, have been stuffed with nothing but world champs from 250s, SBK, etc. Having watched these Champs in their respective series literally dominate, and then watch them either fail out in a year or two, or go on to have long but winless careers in MotoGp makes you wonder whether or not Stefan has the chops.

Perhaps I am a fanboy of Marquez, but I see him as the benchmark.

Total votes: 149

There are ~40 bikes/riders in that Moto2 grid.
Contrary to the old 250cc GP racebikes, where factory bikes were "X" times more expensive and way faster than privateer ones, there are very few "specials" in Moto2, it's all so balanced (600cc spec-engine is a factor).
One of the big controversial "specials" was the Suter 2012 chassis being already in use, so sooner in this year, and only by a really tiny selection of Suter riders/teams (money, money!).

Since Moto2 is all about chassis, you can understand why all the fuss, and guessing where this is going...
...one of those Suter 2012 chassis was being used in the bike of Marquez.

While I would never question Marquez's natural raw talent, which has been proven already ("the Rossi of the future", some say), he has been favored in unusual special ways.
Ex.: - Marquez crashed his only Suter 2012 chassis in P.Island... the Aspar/Mapfre team promptly presented their own Suter 2012 chassis to the Repsol/C.Caixa team of Marquez(!!), just so that he could keep fighting for the title points (Spanish brotherhood, you got to admire those fellas).
...perhaps what happened in the end was Karma...(?)

While Marquez was getting all the limelight and Bradl almost looking pale in comparison (the somewhat cold, shy and too reserved persona probably doesn't help for popularity), he was also consistently doing great in there nonetheless, if we consider everything.

The winter will be long, so take that time to re-watch the whole Moto2 season again. You might change that perception of yours. :-)

Total votes: 144

to be one of those guys that knows it all; unfortunately, I came to fall in love with the international motorcycle racing much too late in life, so my history is limited to only the last 6 or 7 years and then from rewatching as many dvds as I can find. From what I know of these two you mention, they were both awesome but one went on to went several WC's and the other went on to be acknowledged as the best to never be crowned.

I am not suggesting that age is necessarily a factor when talking about experience - I look at Mark as a guy more ready to be challenging the aliens sooner rather than later. Remembering how he charged through the pack at Phillips Island to grab 4th was amazing and it forces you to remember another guy that had a similarly remarkable result at the Island.

The grids, since I have been watching, have been stuffed with nothing but world champs from 250s, SBK, etc. Having watched these Champs in their respective series literally dominate, and then watch them either fail out in a year or two, or go on to have long but winless careers in MotoGp makes you wonder whether or not Stefan has the chops.

Perhaps I am a fanboy of Marquez, but I see him as the benchmark.

Total votes: 134

I seem to recall a certain Australian who was also never good enough to win a 250cc world title. He later signed for LCR Honda. The fact is, the Pedrosas can beat down on the Stoners all they want in the lower classes, but when the time comes for them to meet in the premier class, its a whole different game.

Just because Marquez looks like a safer, more talented bet to be a future MotoGP world champion at this moment, does not mean Bradl will not find it in himself to eventually come out on top.

Total votes: 162

i also remember a certain spaniard who won almost all the races in the 250 class and was thought to be the one to put an end to the dominant rossi era...
4yrs down the road and we all know how many championships he has won while his then seemingly "less capable" colleague has just won his 2nd title and on similar machinery! bring on bradl please...

Total votes: 161

i also remember a certain spaniard who won almost all the races in the 250 class and was thought to be the one to put an end to the dominant rossi era...
4yrs down the road and we all know how many championships he has won while his then seemingly "less capable" colleague has just won his 2nd title and on similar machinery! bring on bradl please...

Total votes: 146

I'm not sure that Bradl or Marquez wanted to stay behind in Moto2. Bradl was unable to put together the financing, and Marquez's sponsors said no. All the words and actions in between could be surmised as, "don't upset the sponsors".

Total votes: 156

... before Marquez moves, everyone stand still, or something?
I don't get it.

Total votes: 150

I like Bradl. He comes across very well in interviews and is clearly a capable rider. I have no idea if he has what it takes to distinguish himself in the premiere class but I certainly wish him well.

Total votes: 149

german! there hasn't been a german in the series since alex hoffman on the kawasaki. seriously, you can't really judge if someone's ready for moto gp just because his main competitor isn't going there as well. getting into moto gp is much about politics as it is about talent. besides, who knew that casey stoner was going to be twice moto gp champion before his arguably more talented 250gp rival dani pedrosa even got 1? well , i did :), but that was probably a lucky guess.

Total votes: 154

Aoyama is leaving MotoGP for WSK after two uninspiring seasons. (could he be back at some stage on a CRT?)
I look at Bradl and see similarities to Aoyama, both being compact smooth and understated riders who are also clever and composed racers. Both reached the top step in the feeder class by beating seemingly faster riders by putting together consistent seasons.
Hopefully Bradl will grow into the big bikes quicker and better than Aoyama and without the injury distractions.

Total votes: 152

After breaking his back in season 1 and being on an inferior bike in season 2 he's had a lot of bad luck. I find it a shame he is leaving. He did have consistent decent finishes on one of only 2 Honda satellite bikes and I think Honda should have given more support to the only Japanese rider on the grid. If the economy was better I think Honda would have kept him there but the dearth of factory bikes was yet another stroke of bad luck.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 142

I suspect honda is still suporting him. I can find no other reason why he got the superbike ride other then payola.

Total votes: 150

I don't think Honda was supporting him as much as they should have. A WSB ride after only 2 years in Motogp is a consolation prize.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 153

You win Moto2, you go to Moto1..a natural progression for the champ of what is supposed to be the main feeder and in reality, a bigger prize than the Moto2 trophy.

Ezpeleta wants it and LCR seems to be the berth they have chosen for it to happen. With a healthy dollop of Dornas cash and Honda helping with the bike, I'm sure Chechinello will be happy too. I wonder if Marquez is as chuffed after Repsol put the kybosh on his move for marketing reasons. I've got to admit it tickles me that they haven't ended up with their aim of two No.1 plates.

I hope a promising debut can be converted during 2012 so that Stefan ends up staying, although doubts over Moto2's suitability as the feeder remain.

Total votes: 142

I'm very pleased Stefan has made the move up tp GP. His 'audition' no doubt convinced him. There was absolutely no point in him hanging around Moto 2 for another season. Likewise, Marc should have moved up had a way presented itself.
Interesting parallel between Bradl and Stoner. Neither set the world alight in the junior classes. Both step up to the big league with Cechinello's LCR Honda squad. In Stoner's case the rest is history. Bradl,why not ?
A half decent 2012 ,followed by a factory ride at Ducati for 2013.
Hell ! Silly season 2011 has not yet seen close of play and I'm already speculating about 2013 line ups.
Hold thumbs that this move is confirmed soon and if so,all the best to Bradl.
Well deserved.

Total votes: 152

Also about Marquez not making the step. Now, the 2012 Moto2 crown is his to lose, in 2013 the whole field will have a year's experience on the 1000s and in 2014, after his rookie MotoGP year, a lot of factory seats will be in the middle of two year deals.
I'm not buying the fact that he felt he wasn't ready. Bigger (sponsor) forces must have been at work here, otherwise I'm sure he would have kept momentum going.

Total votes: 143

I'm a little late to this discussion but both of you are making the typical insinuations that "The Pedrosas" are favoured beyond their talents while "the Stoners" are undervalued in the early part of their careers.

I think the key is to develop the right grass roots programs and sponsorship structures so that as much of the best (worldwide) talent as possible can make it up to the World Championships and then the premier class. This is what has happend in Spain and the results show. It isn't closed to Spanish talent though. Both Bradl and Stoner have raced in the Spanish 125cc championship as have Redding and Bradley Smith. Doohan and Stoner have both won titles on Spanish sponsored machines.

I would love to see a more plural MotoGP grid with more British, German, French, US and Australian riders. All these countries have huge racing heritage, great club racing and large fan bases.
Not to mention that they are far wealthier than Spain so, Why on earth are there no decent Sponsors????

Surely there must some Aussie, US, French, British or German companies who can be persuaded to plunk some cash for a National top tier World Championship racer. Am I wrong??

Maybe the fans amongst you from each of these countries should start demanding this from your corporations.

Perhaps this way a family wouldn't have to sell all of their possessions and live out of a camper van in Europe to ensure their supertalented son can realize his dreams in turn making hundreds of thousands of Aussies proud.

Many of those who despise Alberto Puig conveniently forget that Puig mentored Stoner and had his family living in his familys country house. When he eventually had to choose, Puig put the Stoners in contact with Lucio Chechinello. That is the racing brotherhood.

And to those who continue to undermine Pedrosa should simply respect:
1) His track record winning 3 championships back to back including his first 250cc race and his 4th MotoGP race.
2) The fact he has pushed himself beyond his comfort zone to try and achieve a MotoGP championship despite the fact that the bikes are no the easiest thing for him to ride.

Should Dani have done it old school and stayed in the lower classes over the past 6 years perhaps we wouldn't have seen anyone else win in 250 or Moto2.

So, just to finish off my rant, to all the hard-core fans out there just remember that every single rider on the grid in any category deserves your respect. And, if you love the sport, make your voice heard so that aspiring racers from all over the world have a chance.

Total votes: 147

...but I thought the previous comments were not picking on Spanish riders. Although they both used Pedrosa and Stoner as the example, I thought they were highlighting that results in the smaller class don't always guarantee success in the larger class. Dani does not (yet) have a MotoGP championship, but Stoner does. But then again, sometimes it works out as expected - Lorenzo has one but Dovizioso does not (yet).

Since last season - overcoming the problems of the Honda and the multiple injuries - I've been more impressed than ever with Pedrosa. I certainly agree with your point #2 - you could argue that he is the toughest guy in MotoGP! :)

IMHO, in hindsight it's easy to spot a winner but unless it's your company and you are a big motorcycling fan, I couldn't see many Australian companies putting up big money to sponsor a rider in a foreign championship (eg Spanish) that never gets televised in Australia. Once they've achieved success - well that's a different matter entirely... The Red Bull Cup is a great development as it gives young kids worldwide a more immediate target to aim for, even if motorcycle racing isn't hugely popular in their home country.

Back on topic - I think it will be interesting to see Bradl in MotoGP - Elias was always going to be in a difficult situation with the tyres and it was a tough year for LCR after the team's relative success with RdP in 2010.

How long until Qatar...? :)

Total votes: 139

Demanding an Aussie company backing a rider to crack the big time OS? Geez don't make me laugh so hard. So far there has only been 2 compaies do that 'Swan Lager' for 1 or 2 years after Wayne Gardner won the title and Yellow Pages sponsored Mark Webber since his Formula Ford days(he still keeps his helmet design the same but without the script on it) and suported him until he joined Jaguar.
So not a great record is it. No company got behind even Mick Doohan in is prime.

Total votes: 157

briefly used Doohan in TV ads, when he was at his very peak.

Total votes: 141

They're all busy spending money on the international rugby league or union, soccer, netball teams, and swimming and tennis. And this all speaks to the Australian mostly because they all get on TV big time. Some motorbike races in Europe....? Yep. The average Australian doesn't even know it exists, or has heard of Valentino Rossi somewhere once or twice vaguely.

Total votes: 144

We can change that with some helpful money saving rules.

- to save cost we will only allow 6 balls to be used for the entire season. If a team loses a ball then the team has to start the match from the parking lot.

- for 'stick' sports like hockey and golf we can even the playing field by forcing all players to use left handed sticks. This will remove the advantage of the privileged few and create closer matches.

- to increase the players on the field we will let high school kids join the pro teams, but they can not use factory soccer shoes and must instead use bowling shoes. To compensate each BST team (bowling shoe team team) will be allowed 1 (one) extra shoe lace per match.

- to maximize viewer profits we will make the matches only available to those who subscribe to a pay channel or pay us insane amounts to 'live stream' an endlessly buffering lo-rez video.

- to reduce the advantage of factory teams any new player must spend their first season selling hotdogs in the stands.

That should be a good start anyway.

Total votes: 142

It is not as simple as stick and ball, The Australian mens field hockey team is no 1 in the world, won everything they competed in last year, play a stunning style and are largely unknown and unpromoted.
It is the sports that can generate large numbers of TV viewers that get exposure and money and motorcycling doesn't and never has been able to do this.

Total votes: 135