The Spanish petroleum giant Repsol is one of the mainstays of MotoGP. Repsol has backed Honda's MotoGP team for over 15 years, and the oil company is expanding its interest in the series. After adding backing for Marc Marquez in the Moto2 category last year, Repsol today announced that it will be supporting teams in all three categories of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in 2012.
Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa continue to form the Repsol Honda squad, the team reduced from three to two riders, after Andrea Dovizioso's contract was not renewed. After agonizing over the question of whether to go to MotoGP or stay in Moto2, Marc Marquez has elected to put in another year in Moto2 with the Monlau Competicion squad backed by Repsol. The Monlau team will also be fielding two riders in the new Moto3 class with the backing of Repsol, signing a pair of 16-year-olds to contest the new class on a pair of Honda NSF250R Moto3 machines. Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira returns to the GP paddock after an early and less-than-harmonious split from the Andalucia Banca Civica team, while 2011 CEV 125cc champion Alex Rins makes his debut at the World Championship level with the Repsol-backed Monlau team.
Though Oliveira was something of a disappointment in his first year in 125s, the split with his team suggested that the Portuguese rider was not solely to blame for his performance, and more is expected of him from his second bite of the cherry. But much of the attention in the media will be directed at his teammate Rins: the young Spaniard is tipped for very big things, having beaten Marc Marquez' younger (and reputedly more talented) brother Alex in the Spanish championships while on the same bike and in the same team. Though Rins will have a lot of new tracks to learn, the Spaniard should be able to make an impression at the four Spanish rounds, held on tracks he has raced on regularly.
In their press release, Repsol stated their aim of chasing titles in all three titles, a goal that looks to be well within reach. Casey Stoner starts 2012 as the defending champion, and given his form in early testing is favorite to repeat. Rival team managers have expressed their dismay at Marc Marquez remaining in Moto2, having already penciled in his name for the Moto2 title. Moto3 remains the biggest question mark, with both riders and machinery unknown, with few bikes having publicly gone head-to-head in testing allowing teams to compare times, and Rins and Oliveira unproven.
There are still a few worries over Marc Marquez' sight. The Spaniard banged his head and suffered bruising to his face in a practice crash at Sepang, and has been suffering from double vision ever since. Though his vision has been improving slowly over the past few months, the Spaniard is still not 100% fit, and unable to race. The problem is most likely related to the bruising Marquez suffered in the face, but vision problems can prove notoriously problematic, sometimes taking many months to heal completely. Marquez has until April, which should be more than enough, and given the speed he has already shown on the Suter Moto2 machine, even missing much of preseason testing should not hold him back much.
Below is the press release from Repsol:
Repsol aims in 2012 to win the World Championship in all classes
The energy company, one of the reference sponsors in the Motorcycling World Championship, will be next season in Moto3 with riders Álex Rins and Miguel Oliveira, thus competing in all categories
Repsol, with more than 40 years of experience in sporting sponsorship, will face the 2012 season with the aim to win in all classes of the Motorcycling World Championship. The energy group, which conquered the 2011 MotoGP Championship with Australian rider Casey Stoner and finished in runner-up position in Moto2 thanks to Marc Márquez, will increase in 2012 its presence in the most important motorcycling competition in the new Moto3 category, with a line-up that includes Spaniard Álex Rins and Portuguese Miguel Oliveira.
16-year-old Álex Rins, is the latest jewel of the Spanish young riders and will debut in the Motorcycling World Championship as the current Spanish Champion (CEV) in the 125cc class. Miguel Oliveira, also a 16-year-old, is one of the most promising riders of the international scene, as he has already a year of experience in the class and won the last two races of the CEV with a Moto3 of the Monlau Competición Team.
Furthermore, Álex Márquez, runner-up in the 2011 CEV, will be at the start in some races of the Motorcycling World Champion as wild card. Marc Márquez's brother will combine this competition with the CEV in the Moto3 class, where he will fight to win the Championship. The last time Repsol participated in the smallest class of the Motorcycling World Championship, in 2010, the team won the Championship with Marc Márquez.
Repsol will have in 2012 the most powerful team of the Motorcycling World Championship and aims to win in all classes with the riders Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa (MotoGP), Marc Márquez (Moto2), Álex Rins and Miguel Oliveira (Moto3). Since its debut in the Championship, 40 years ago, Repsol has won 27 titles in the different classes (50, 80, 125, 250, 500cc and MotoGP).
Despite having already some of the best riders of the grid, Repsol has not yet closed the team for the 2012 season. The company is the official fuel and lubricant supplier of the Repsol Honda Team, in MotoGP. In its Technology Centre, located in Móstoles (Madrid), the energy group develops fuels specific for high-level competition.