The difference between a handshake an an officially signed contract is just under four weeks, it seems. Late on Sunday night after the race at Misano, the Marc VDS Racing team put a message on Twitter announcing they would be moving up to MotoGP for the next two years, racing a factory-backed Honda RC213V with Scott Redding aboard. Honda, however, was far from pleased with the team's adoption of 21st Century technology to communicate with fans and media, and the Tweet was quickly taken down. Though agreement had been reached at Misano on all of the details - a three-year deal to lease a factory-spec Honda RC213V, and putting Scott Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 seasons - HRC deemed that the deal was not yet ready to be announced. Though the contract was public knowledge, the team went silent on the deal.
Until now. Today, the Marc VDS Racing team finally officially confirmed what we have known for nearly a month. The team will be competing in MotoGP in 2015, with Scott Redding aboard a factory-spec RC213V. The deal will see Redding on the bike for the 2015 and 2016 season, with the team having a bike at its disposal for a third season. The deal means that Redding is now free to abandon the Showa forks and Nissin brakes in favor of the Ohlins/Brembo combination favored by paddock groupthink. But it also poses the team with a minor problem, as they will have to assemble a team around Redding. His former crew chief, Pete Benson, is set to stay in Moto2 with Tito Rabat, the team unwilling to break up a combination which has proven to be capable of winning races and a championship. The obvious candidate to take the place as Redding's crew chief would be Naoya Kaneko, current crew chief to the departing Mika Kallio. Kaneko has MotoGP experience, having worked for Kawasaki during their period in MotoGP.
The move to MotoGP comes as an addition to, rather than a replacement for their Moto2 team. Tito Rabat will contest the Moto2 championship for the team again next season, and he will be joined by Alex Marquez, who is leaving Moto3 to race in the intermediate class. The Moto3 structure is to be dissolved, with the staff most likely redistributed among the Moto2 and MotoGP projects of the team.
Below is the press release from the Marc VDS team.
Marc VDS to move up to MotoGP
Motegi, Japan – 10 October 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team is pleased to announce that they will make the step up to the premier MotoGP class in 2015, after reaching an agreement with Honda Racing Corporation.
Marc VDS will field a factory specification Honda RC213V in the MotoGP World Championship, with Scott Redding returning to the team to lead the assault on the premier class in both 2015 and 2016.
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has helped us to achieve our aim of racing in the premier MotoGP class, with what is clearly the most competitive bike available. Without their help, and the continued support of Marc van der Straten, this move would have remained a dream for us, but now it is a reality. Obviously we are looking forward to welcoming Scott Redding back to the fold next year, but our focus for now must be on the Moto2 World Championship, which we are currently leading with both of our riders.”
Marc van der Straten // President, Marc VDS Racing Team
“It is a great honour to be associated with Honda at the very top level of two-wheeled motorsport, especially as we are a relatively new team to the Grand Prix paddock. But, while newcomers we may be, I think we have shown quite clearly that we are there to race and there to win, which I believe reflects Honda’s philosophy also. I am excited about this new project, especially as it means a return to the Marc VDS racing family of Scott Redding, with whom we enjoyed a long and successful association in Moto2.”
More information and high resolution images are available on the Marc VDS Racing Team website at www.marcvds.com.