New look grid for MotoGP™ in 2015
The likes of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), along with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), are staying with their current teams, but there has been a reshuffling of the establishment elsewhere in the field.
For Ducati Team, Andrea Iannone steps up to join Italian compatriot Andrea Dovizioso in the official factory team. Meanwhile, Suzuki and Aprilia join the fray to bolster the grid to five manufacturers.
Aleix Espargaro and 2013 Moto3™ World Champion Maverick Viñales will spearhead Suzuki’s return, with the project managed by Davide Brivio who previously held the position of Yamaha factory Team Manager.
For Aprilia, meanwhile, Alvaro Bautista reunites with the brand that brought him the 125cc World title in 2006, coupled with the advantage of being able to ride the bike under the Gresini Racing banner of which he has been a part since the start of 2012. Just who partners the Spaniard remains to be seen.
Looking to punch through into the lead group will be the Factory satellite riders, hoping to get the better of their factory team counterparts. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 retain their line-up of 2013 Moto2™ title winner Pol Espargaro alongside Great Britain’s Bradley Smith, with the duo having pushed each other on and been closely-matched across their first season as teammates.
At Pramac Racing Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez is partnered by Italian Danilo Petrucci who is aiming to work his way up through the middle of the grid.
It’s all-change for Lucio Cecchinello as he realizes a dream of running a two-bike team. The former racer’s newly-branded CWM-LCR Honda squad has signed Cal Crutchlow, who will ride a third different bike (the Honda RC213V) in as many seasons. On the other side of the CWM-LCR garage, Australian Jack Miller makes the unprecedented jump to MotoGP directly from the Moto3™ class.
Scott Redding rejoins Marc VDS Racing Team: the outfit with whom he challenged for the Moto2 World title in 2013. Redding will be tackling the 2015 MotoGP season on a Factory Honda.
As for the Open battle, it is set to intensify further as NGM Forward Racing employs the services of Stefan Bradl for the first time. The former Moto2 World Champion will expect a hard fight with the likes of Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden – back up to full fitness following a season of injury. Karel Abraham and the Cardion AB Motoracing squad will also aim to continue their progress.
At the same time, not one but two riders switch across to MotoGP from the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. Frenchman Loriz Baz will become Bradl’s team-mate at Forward Racing, whilst Eugene Laverty makes the move to join Hayden at Aspar.
Avintia Racing will be the only outfit on the grid running Ducati bikes but to Open specification, as Hector Barbera is already doing over the closing races of 2014. Mike di Meglio also remains with the team for 2015.