With the available seats at the teams with factory prototypes all now full with the exception of the final satellite Honda - most likely a toss-up between Scott Redding and Alvaro Bautista at Gresini Honda, though rumors persist of Marc VDS Racing taking the Honda RC213V from Gresini and fielding Redding in their own team - attention has now turned to the CRT grid, and the available seats being filled there.
At Misano, two teams announced their plans for 2013. On Thursday, the NGM Forward squad announced they had persuaded Colin Edwards to stay for another season, meaning that the Texan will remain in MotoGP for another season. The team is to finish the 2012 season on the Suter BMW, before making a decision on which bike to use for 2013. The team had been considering a switch to the Aprilia ART machine, but promises of an expanded testing program and more development have kept Forward on board for the rest of the season.
The Cardion AB team will be using the Aprilia ART, however. Today, the team officially confirmed that they would not be continuing with Ducati and would be switching to an Aprilia ART machine. The team will work in partnership with Aprilia and the Aspar team to help develop the Aprilia, in preparation for the new rules in 2014, which will see a rev limit and spec ECU imposed. Karel Abraham will remain the rider for the team.
The decision to switch from Ducati to Aprilia was taken because the team had been disappointed with the pace of development, the Cardion AB team said in a press release. They had expected to see more development of the bike, especially of the engine, but none was forthcoming. That, and the long run of disappointing results, caused Cardion AB to elect to field an Aprilia ART machine for 2013, entering under the CRT rules. Ducati's decision to field a junior team consisting of factory-backed bikes is in part a direct response to the criticism aimed at the factory by the Cardion team, in an attempt to speed up development.
Immediately below is the press release issued by the Cardion AB team announcing their 2013 plans, while further down the page is the list of confirmed and expected MotoGP entries for the 2013 season. IRTA officials expect to see 22 bikes line up on the grid in 2013, and are currently in discussions over the remaining grid slots.
For 2013, Cardion AB Motoracing are switching their motorcycle supplier for MotoGP rider Karel Abraham. The team is finishing their collaboration with Ducati, and today signed a contract with Luigi Dall´Igna, Technical and Sporting Director of Aprilia Racing, which builds the ART – Aprilia motorcycle, qualifying as a CRT entry.
Karel Abraham sr. Team Manager of Cardion AB Motoracing said:
“Our team entered MotoGP in 2011 with the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and a rider who at that time was the youngest in the starting field, and the second youngest ever in the history of the MotoGP class. During the season we gained a number of remarkable successes – Karel twice finished a race in seventh, and several times achieved the quickest qualifying time on a Ducati. He was quick, he got used to the bike really fast, collaboration with Ducati was outstanding, and the work of the engineers and the development of the bike were completely professional.
At the end of the season Ducati had developed a bike for 2012 based around a different concept. Unfortunately, our first impressions of the bike were not too positive, however. The bike was very hard to find good set up, and it was clear that the engine needed a lot more intensive development. Our idea of just how much more development work the bike needed unfortunately differed from that of Ducati, and it didn’t look like they were about to change their minds. So, in spite of the fact that we had the option to continue with Ducati in 2013, we decided not to use it, and to give an opportunity to a new partner.
This new partnership with Aprilia raised of our earlier close collaboration with the Aspar team. We shared engineers and helped one another out in the lower classes. Both teams in 2011 moved into MotoGP with Ducati. Aspar pulled out of the deal after one year, however, and moved to ART – Aprilia. So it’s natural that the first discussions we entered into were with Aprilia. Those who’ve ridden the bike regard it as being a high quality, reliable motorcycle, and even more importantly, the support from the Aprilia factory allows riders and mechanics from our team to participate in the development and setting up of the machine. Over the course of this season CRT bikes have been getting quicker, and we’re convinced that they have a future. On top of which, ART – Aprilia has undoubtedly shown that, of all the CRT bikes, it’s the most competitive.
For us, 2013 is going to be a year of testing and improving set up of the bike. In 2014 new technical rules will be coming into force that will move the CRT category very close to factory bikes.”
Karel Abraham, MotoGP rider, said:
“The 2012 season has regrettably been a step backwards. It’s a pity that we are finishing our co-operation with Ducati in these circumstances, but this year things haven’t been working as well as they should. We have been in negotiation with Aprilia for quite some time, and I think the partnership’s got a good future. I see it as the best possible solution. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we think it’s important to be going forward and not just running on the spot. We have worked with Aprilia before on 250s. In fact, in the year before the old 250cc class was replaced by Moto2, we worked really well together. I hope that we can now build on it!”
Below is the 2013 MotoGP line up known so far. Riders, teams and bikes with a question mark are still unconfirmed, the rest have all been confirmed for 2013. The latest version of this list can always be found on this page.
|Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V|
|Marc Marquez||Honda RC213V|
|Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha M1|
|Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1|
|Nicky Hayden||Ducati Desmosedici GP13|
|Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Desmosedici GP13|
|Monster Tech 3 Yamaha|
|Cal Crutchlow||Yamaha M1|
|Bradley Smith||Yamaha M1|
|Stefan Bradl||Honda RC213V|
|Scott Redding?/Alvaro Bautista?||Honda RC213V|
|Pramac Ducati Junior Team|
|Ben Spies||Ducati Desmosedici GP13|
|Andrea Iannone||Ducati Desmosedici GP13|
|Colin Edwards||Suter BMW|
|Randy de Puniet?||Aprilia ART|
|Aleix Espargaro?||Aprilia ART|
|Yonny Hernandez?||FTR Kawasaki?|
|Paul Bird Motorsport|
|James Ellison?||??? ("A British-built bike")|
|Karel Abraham||Aprilia ART|