Lucio Cecchinello Looking to Expand to Two-Man Team for 2014
Lucio Cecchinello is looking to expand his LCR Honda team from a one- to a two-man team, according to reports over on GPOne.com. The Italian team manager is considering adding a second rider to race alongside Stefan Bradl for the 2014 season onwards.
While Bradl will remain on the team's factory-supported Honda RC213V, LCR's second rider would ride the production version to be sold by Honda from 2014 at a cost of 1 million euros. According GPOne, Cecchinello has calculated that it would cost him between 1.6 and 1.8 million euros to run the second bike, a total which includes the production RC213V, and the seven people required to run it (one crew chief, one data engineer, four mechanics and a tire engineer).
The question of who would ride it is more complex. Cecchinello has been highly successful in raising sponsorship for his LCR Honda team, in part due to his ability to innovate, as with the LCR Inspire e-magazine. The Italian team manager has some very strong interest from Asia, according to GPOne.com, but that sponsorship interest would demand an Asian rider to race the bike. While the Asian presence is growing in MotoGP, the riders currently in the series are not yet ready for MotoGP. The most promising of the current bunch is Zulfahmi Khairuddin, but the Malaysian will be spending another season in Moto3 for 2013, aboard the Red Bull KTM, and needs another couple of seasons before he is ready to step up to the premier class. The two Indonesian riders in Moto2, Rafid Topan Sucipto is in his rookie year, while Doni Tata Pradita has been out of the world championship paddock for a number of years now. Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami could be an option - he is likely to be acceptable to Honda - but whether a Japanese rider would be acceptable to a South-East Asian sponsor remains to be seen.