The Aspar team have today announced that their Moto2 line up is now complete. With the signing of 2010 Moto2 champion Toni Elias to race alongside 2011 125cc champion Nico Terol, Aspar has a full complement of riders to face the 2012 season. Elias had been linked to rides with both Gresini - the team with which he won the inaugural Moto2 championship - and Aspar, and had finally settled on the Spanish squad. After a long and very difficult year in MotoGP, Elias is hoping to return to winning again in Moto2, while his teammate Terol is focused solely on learning to adapt to the Moto2 machines, this being the first time he has raced a four stroke.
Aspar actually has more than a full complement of riders, in fact. The Spanish team had previously announced that they had signed Aleix Espargaro to race in Moto2 for the team, and the Spaniard, elder brother of Pol, tested the Suter Moto2 bike with the Aspar team on the first day of testing at Valencia on Wednesday. But with nobody yet signed for Aspar's CRT machines in MotoGP - almost certain to be Aprilias, based on the RSV4 engine with a different frame designed and built by Aprilia - Espargaro is likely to move up to race in the premier class.
The rider most likely to fill the second empty seat in MotoGP is former Pramac Ducati rider Randy de Puniet. The Frenchman was at the Valencia test, and rode the Aprilia RSV4 which the Noale factory had brought to the test to gather data on the spec Bridgestone tires with, in a garage which held a very large contingent of red Mapfre Aspar shirts. Though no statements were released by the team about the riders Aspar expects to sign in MotoGP, Jorge Martinez did tell Jose Maroto of the Spanish magazine Motociclismo that he had been impressed by the Frenchman, and that De Puniet was "at the top of the list" as far as riders were concerned.
With Aspar's line up in Moto2 complete, team boss Jorge Martinez will now turn his attention to finalizing the MotoGP line up. Though the pairing of Espargaro and De Puniet seems a foregone conclusion, contracts have yet to be signed. With another CRT test due to take place later this month at Jerez - alongside the Ducati test team, and possibly Valentino Rossi - time is of the essence.
You can read the Moto2 announcement (in Spanish) on the team's Facebook page.