Moto2 & Moto3 Silly Season Updates: Herrin & Zarco To Caterham, Honda's Moto3 Plans, Rins' Moto2 Option

More changes are afoot in the Moto2 and Moto3 field for next season. With the lack of any American talent coming through from the support classes - despite the outstanding results of Joe Roberts in both the Red Bull Rookies Cup and in AMA Supersport, and the clear talent of riders such as Cameron Beaubier and Jake Gagne - the news that Josh Herrin is to race in Moto2 in 2014 will be well received. Herrin announced the news himself on Sunday night, after wrapping up the 2013 AMA Superbike championship, defeating three-time champion Josh Hayes to do so.

Herrin had been refused to answer questions on who he had signed with, but informed paddock gossip suggested that Herrin had signed with the new Caterham Moto2 squad. Caterham, which is linked to the F1 team of the same name, and races with backing from Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, will race a Suter chassis next season, and will see Frenchman Johann Zarco race alongside Herrin in Moto2. Herrin's switch to Moto2 had been in some doubt, as there were question marks in the paddock over both Herrin's outright ability and the sponsorship he would bring to the team. The AMA Superbike title helped remove one of those question marks, and the fact that Herrin is signed must mean that the other has also been removed.

In Moto3, there is more and more confirmation that Honda will be building a high-powered engine to defeat KTM. There had been a fierce internal debate inside HRC over whether to spend the money necessary to beat KTM at their own game, as the cost of the actual engine will be vastly more than the 12,000 euro price cap in Moto3. However, facing humiliation at the hands of KTM - who have found other ways to pass on the costs, hiding engine development costs in the price of a complete bike package - Honda has decided to act.

To defeat KTM, they will also need a winning team, and that team will be the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez. The team, run by Monlau, the organization behind Marc Marquez and Maria Herrera's Spanish championship team, will make the switch to Honda for 2014, and take on the KTMs. With Rins and Marquez being two of the top favorites for the 2014 Moto3 title, along with Jack Miller, Honda should have everything in place to defeat the KTMs.

Whether Rins stays in Moto3 is still not 100% certain, however. Rins is believed to have a clause in his contract which says that if he wins the 2013 Moto3 title, he will enter Moto2 with the Monlau team. On the strength of Rins' performance at Aragon, his chances of being Moto3 champion are improving.

The Monlau team will not be the only one on a Honda. Racing Team Germany is also to remain with the Japanese manufacturer, and with Jack Miller having signed for the Red Bull KTM team, RTG has signed Efren Vazquez to race for them in 2014. Who Vazquez' teammate will be is as yet unknown, but the chances of it being a young rookie look promising.

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Comments

Hopefully the bike & team are up to the challenge.

Total votes: 110

Most everyone in the States knows that Herrin did not win his AMA Championship on track, it was handed to him courtesy of the AMA Rulebook. Did he put out effort? Yes. Has he matured as a rider? Definitely. Is he considered Championship material? I don't think so.

As far as being America's next Big Hope, not likely.....

Total votes: 123

There was also a bit of badluck for Hayes that was responsible too. The mechanical DNFs for Hayes allowed the rest of the field to have a fighting chance at the title especially the 2 back to back at Daytona and the neutered AMA schedule meant not enough races to make any headway back into the championship. Correct me if I am wrong but Herrin beat Josh only 2x this year. That being said I am glad to see him leave the DMG-AMA since it is a nearly dead series.

Total votes: 96

I have to agree with you. While I like Herrin as a person and it is great to see an American in Moto2, this years AMA superbike title was definitely won by default. I believe there was maybe only one time where Herrin won in a heads up battle. Nonetheless, those are the rules of the series and ultimately Herrin beat Hayes to the title. My issue with the situation is that in order to run at the front in Moto2, you need to be able to beat Hayes heads up consistently. What I'm worried about is Herrin running mid field in Moto2 and closing any doors for more talented Americans like Beaubier to get a competitive ride in GP's. Right now Beaubier is our biggest hope and quite frankly GP desperately needs a fresh dose of young American talent ASAP. For what it's worth, I expect to see a Mladin vs Spies-esque duel between Beaubier and Hayes next year. I just think another year in AMA for Beaubier does no good for anyone. I just hope Herrin does well enough to at least keep the GP doors open for Americans otherwise Cameron and other talents like Roberts, will have to take the loooong way around...

Total votes: 105

... agreed, and you make an excellent (and frightening) point about Herrin's potential mediocrity in Moto2 haulting Beaubier's advancement back to GP racing. I realize as I write this that I've hungout or ridden with both those guys... weird.

Both are obviously on another planet compared to mortals like us, but it can't be denied that Cameron's ability is verging on greatness to anyone paying close enough attention to what he can do.

I fully expect Cameron to outright challenge, if not completely overwhelm Hayes in 2014.

Total votes: 118

In 1998 Ben Bostrom won precisely ZERO races in his championship season. He went on to do some nice things in WSBK once he got his preferred tire under him.

In 1999, Mat Mladin only won ONE race in his maiden championship. He went on to be the most dominant force in AMA history.

Certainly none of this guarantees (or even suggests) Josh will be successful in Moto2, but damn, give him a chance before you start blaming him for future American stonewalling on the international stage.

Total votes: 126

Look to me like Fernandes seem to have a thing for american talent given the fact he currently also have Alexander Rossi doing work for his F1 outfit.

Total votes: 102

If Herrin was to stay in the AMA he would get bashed for not trying to move up. While Hayes is true champion on & off the track, he'd be the first to say, Herrin got the most points this year and that in the end is all that counts.

Total votes: 116

Maybe we'll get lucky and Joe Roberts will get the RTG ride!

Total votes: 121

I dont think that he will be much of competition in Moto2. Though, his riding style would be a nice fit with Marquez if he can make it MotoGP and keep up.

Total votes: 113

Give him a chance to get comfortable and let's see how he does.

Beaubier is the real deal, I don't think he should spend too much time in AMA Superbike. His time is now. I'm sure Yamaha has him on their world championship radar. Actually, there are a few promising kids in Daytona Sportbike. Gagne is good, but it's hard to tell how far he's behind Beaubier given the fact that he's on different equipment. Not far, I think. Jake Lewis and Garret Gerloff are both just 18, so they bear watching next year. J.D. Beach is a bit older, so he'll have to make a move very soon to have a chance at the world stage.

The racing in that class is pretty damn good and enertaining. It's a shame AMA/DMG doesn't seem to know what to do with it.

I wish there were a place for Hayes on a competitive WSBK team. He doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon and could probably give a team three or four good years on the world level.

Total votes: 102

It will be interesting to see next year, with KTM, Honda and Mahindra participating with good bikes, especially with no special engines for anybody, since the engine suppliers will have to provide Dorna with engines to be randomly distributed among all users, by brand. KTM is already at a high level, Honda has been stung and I don't think Mahindra are going to get any slower. Now, if only someone would come up with something new, chassis wise.

Total votes: 98

I'll be glad to have an America rider to root for, but I won't expect much from Herrin. There are other riders in the AMA paddock with more talent and are more deserving of the ride.

He wasn't able to get it done in the AMA support class on the R6, and while points are points, he was gifted this year's championship.

Total votes: 104

that similar things were said about Cal Crutchlow and he's proven himself able to hang with the best in the world. Herrin is young and will only get better...with the right person to help him along. I wouldn't say he's not Moto2 material. He beat Roger Hayden consistently this year and Rog has not embarrassed himself in MotoGP or Moto2 in his one off rides. Either way, I don't think those are terribly good indicators of how well he will or will not do.

Will he set the series on it's head in the way a Marc Marquez has? Not likely. Will he be in say, the same sort of development curve as someone like Dominic Aegerter? My bet is he will be. As for riders like Cam Beaubier being more talented, that may or may not be the case. I think we have plenty of young talent here that would fare extremely well on the world stage given the right opportunity and the right package. Sending one to WSBK on a Pedercini Kawasaki is not the opportunity or package I mean.

Problem is once again, our domestic series does not easily lend itself to world wide comparisons. With the pathetic amount of race promotion, rider promotion, television time (and don't even get me started on the race announcing crews) the names just don't get out there to the general (non-motorcycling) public. Names like Duhamel, Crevier, Picotte, Kipp, Chandler, Russell, Hayden Bostrom...those are names long time AMA fans remember. Hayes? not so much. Why? Because he's been champion during a time that has received very little press. In the era of internet news, streaming video and social media that is almost unfathomable.

Then there is the format and the rules. None of which translate terribly well to other national series. Don't get me wrong, the XR1200 series is a good thing. However, Daytona Sport Bike? Really? Why not open that up and make it like Moto2? Unlimited mods (already has that) race spec frames (we have our own builders like Attack and GP Tech) and spec tires (wait, we already have that, and Dunlop supplies Moto2 anyway) I think that would go a long way to making the series more recognizable internationally. No one else in the world races "Daytona Sport Bikes" Superbike should return to being the big show. WSBK rules based so easy comparisons can be made. The bikes can be spec'd where ever, spec tires are already essentially in place, the rest can be copied straight from the WSBK rule book. Bring back a super stock program for affordable racing. World Superstock rule book. Keep the XRs, the racing is too good to get rid of them.

DMG has done nothing to promote the current series. Not nationally, not internationally, not in digital media. That is what it will take to make it a vehicle by which talented riders can reach the world stage. The more riders that can make that jump, the more attention will get paid to the series. The greater the advertizing becomes, the more money can be made by the organizers. Their current path will do none of that and bury the series in unprofitable relationships. Seems the whole NASCAR formula doesn't work so well for other motorsports.

Addressing the rules and the class structure would do wonders simply by being recognizable to other (international) race organizations. Even adding a spec 250 class that races Ninja and CBR 250s in stock form for young riders, IE no one over 25 as a feeder class could bring some much needed new blood to the series. Make it more accessible. Privateers only, no factory teams. All it needs is organization, implementation, promotion and consistency. For some reason, that seems too much for DMG to handle.

Total votes: 106