Karel Abraham To Ride 6th Ducati In MotoGP In 2011

MotoGP's silly season is in full swing, and it has been Ducati who have been dominating the media over the past couple of months. First, by seeing the man who won their only championship, Casey Stoner, head off to Honda to join his former mentor Livio Suppo. And more recently, by the will-he-won't-he saga of Valentino Rossi's imminent arrival to take Stoner's place at the Bologna factory.

But out of the spotlight, the factory has being expanding its involvement even further. Yesterday, Karel Abraham announced on his website that he will be riding a Desmosedici GP11 in MotoGP next season. The 20 year-old Czech is currently riding for the Cardion AB Moto2 team, and has seen a marked improvement in his fortunes since the team switched from the RSV chassis to the FTR.

Encouraged by his progress, and the strong times that Abraham posted when he tested a Ducati MotoGP bike earlier this year at the Mugello circuit (Abraham posted a 1'51.0 matching that of Nicky Hayden and around half a second or more faster than the other satellite riders, according to Motorkari.cz), the Cardion AB team has decided to move up to MotoGP next season, leasing a 6th Ducati Desmosedici and expanding the grid to 18. The usual objection - money - is less of a factor in the case of Abraham, as his father - also named Karel - is the owner of a large medical equipment company specializing in cardiological and neurological equipment, Cardion. Abraham Senior also owns the Brno circuit, home of the Czech MotoGP and World Superbike rounds.

With Ducati stepping up its involvement to six machines next season, pressure is sure to increase on Suzuki. The Hamamatsu factory has faced criticism from all sides about their refusal to field more than two bikes, Suzuki putting that refusal down to a question of cost. But Yamaha could also faced press to expand their own presence, as if Ducati - a vastly smaller factory - can field six bikes, then the question of why Yamaha can only support four machines is also likely to be raised. The Cardion AB bike will bring Ducati level with Honda for the number of bikes each factory has on the grid.

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Good for Mr Abraham, good for Ducati, good for MotoGP.

Hopefully this will increase the grid even further.

Yes it's good. 6 bikes from Ducati, wow. If they can do it, why can't the other factories? Especially Suzuki? Maybe we shouldn't pressure them too much, they may pull a Kawi. and pull out alltogether.

"Abraham Senior also owns the Brno circuit"

What a home round that is going to be! At any rate, i've seen this guy making some splashes in Moto2, hope he keeps it up.

87 races, 29 DNFs, no wins, no podiums, no poles, and no fastest laps. Crashed out of his home race (Dads track) 4 out of five times. He aint ready. Getting in way over his head. My concern is rider safety.

Great news. Young blood, another Ducati. Yamaha and Suzuki better wake up and smell the coffee.
Too many 'good old boys' circulating out there in GP with no chance of competing for the podium,barring other's failures,but collecting massive pay cheques.
The sport needs about 3 more entries with 3 new names on the grid to spice it up.
Never mind the pedigree,they will sink or swim in the class.

MotoGP is so desperate for bikes that this is being considered a good thing. MotoGP is supposed to be the pinnacle. There are at least a dozen riders who deserve a MotoGP ride over this rich kid. What a joke.

Typically a rider accends to MotoGP via domination of their previous category. Or, at least, a measurable ammount of success. Karel might be the greatest guy on Earth, and I am not bashing him personally, but his pedigree doesnt warrant the promotion. I fear it could lead to frustration and crashing as a result of trying too hard.

I am willing to bet that he will outperform our current back-markers. Espargaro "wasn't ready" and yet he is ahead of more experienced riders.

The fact is, MotoGP has always been about who can afford to go racing and only the recent scarcity of bikes has enforced any sort of "talent threshhold".

We would more likely see slower riders with any new bike entered on the grid so I am not seeing this as a problem. A new bike is a new bike.

MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

What? Espargaro is ahead of Bautista... A rookie on a Suzuki. Thats it.

I don't see the problem at all with giving him a ride next year.

Sure he's crashed a few bikes and retired a few times in his career, but Jorge also destroyed a fair few Yamaha's, just as Casey did with the Honda.

9th, 4th and 5th in the last 3 races. Not bad at all really.

But Jorge and casey were on the podium far more often than crashing. The three cannot be compared...not even remotely.

It's illogical to graduate to the premier class when he has not been competetive in the lower categories. It's a recipe for last place and frustration.

I guess so, but it's still worth trying him on the bike, as it was said in the post that he had put in some decent times on the GP bike whats the risk? it's no more dangerous than having Marco S out there on the grid!

Pedigree is not a good excuse to bar someone from MotoGP.

This guy posted a 1:51.0 at Mugello, and bagged a few top ten finishes in a super-competitive class. Not to mention that his sponsors are willing and eager. Look at guys like RDP. That guy was a crasher. Just a wreck waiting to happen. Look at him now (sand the broken leg bit). If this dude has all his ducks in a row, give him a shot. He will sink, and his sponsors will drop him; or he will surprise.

Another bike on the grid is good news.

I never said Bar him. I said I believe he will likely be frustrated and disappointed.

Also, his sponsors (Dad) wont drop him if he performs poorly, as his sponsors are the reason he is moving up.

Gabor Talamasci didn't last long in MotoGP. He was pretty rich, I thought. It takes quite a lot of money to flounder in the face of failure in the premiere class. In all likelyhood, his dad has a board to answer to. Surely he can't afford to just throw money away?

A good comparison to this guy would be Aleix Espargaro. 80 races.. no podiums, no poles, 15 retires. And who can argue Espargaro's place in MotoGP.

I dont know how deep his dads pockets are, but my point is, he has foot the bill for a while now, the results have been poor, yet he chooses to advance to an even more expensive and difficult category. If there were a board, I suspect they would have already been questioning the funding. I am guessing Cardion SRO is wholly owned by Karel Sr....Guessing.

Espargaro is a good comparison. Four DNFs out of nine races. The only rider he is beating in the series is another rookie, under 100% fit, with missed races due to broken bones, who rides a Suzuki. ;-)

Karel Sr. is certainly welcome to spend his money as he sees fit. Its his money afterall. But if he wanted to fund a winning team, if he were passionate about being competetive, there are better rider choices. My guess is that he is passionate about his son, which is cool.

A rider who spends a season or two learning a class can be forgiven for destroying a few bikes in the process, when they then go on to utterly dominate the class. Indeed, even in his first season in 250, Jorge was already very competitive towards the end of it, against the more experienced Pedrosa, Stoner and Ayoama (+ Dovi, who came up with Jorge from 125cc as world champ).

I agree with the others who think it's pretty sad that of all the provably more talented young riders out there, that Abraham gets to move up to MotoGP. No doubt he's a nice guy, no doubt he's an immensely capable rider in the greater scheme of things. However the talent in MotoGP just is incredible, and it seems unlikely, given his career to date, that he'll do anything but make up the numbers at the back of the grid. :(

to have super rich daddy making fairyland come true! ;)

super cool that ducati are going into this hard - i am guessing their branding is SO strong that - like ferrari - they merely have to offer red models at very, very high prices to guarantee sales! :)

it DOES make ALL of the japanese factories seem lame - including honda, as these cats are SO much larger & well staffed than i imagine ducati is.

that ducati has the cojones y fuerza to rock up with 6 bikes is cause for confidence in the sport.

especially if their increased numbers on the grid yield increased points in the championship.

i cannot see why yamaha cannot lease more machines (after all, thats what ducati is doing here) to increase their strike rate - they have lorenzo, rossi, spies striking hard for them (& poor old edwards swan-songing his way out); they can afford a couple more bums on seats to market the brand.

suzuki have NO excuse - sack them!

kawasaki at least fullfilled the samurai spirit of hagakure (?!) & bid an honour-saving adieu. better to lose the head than live in shame! :)

come on guys - grow some & make your elite racing series that allegedly improves the breed & sells units - have a strong pulse again!

viva ducati in this instance! :)

The next Hailwood is finally here! I can't wait to see Mike the Bike Abraham race on the new Ducati his daddy bought him.

Somehow I don't think Abraham is going to turn out quite as well as Hailwood :-D

"The most important choice one 'makes' in the determination of the level of success in his future: who his parents are going to be..."

The issue here is that Mr. Abraham (Senior) has the cash to sponsor a team.  This means he can purchase/lease equipment and (this is the important part...) meet payroll.  He has chosen to spend his money on Ducati because of some cost-to-benefit math that he finds more attractive than going anywhere else (like, say, the FB team that didn't make it past testing this year).

The factories are not so much unwilling to build bikes, as they are not willing to give away the staff necessary to keep them running.  There is no benefit to a factory leasing out a bike that does not improve all season because no one familiar with the technical side is on staff at the team.  In "leasing" the equipment, they are also (to some degree) paying for technical support...  which costs more than the actual equipment.  Mid-season upgrades and super-genius techs can also be had for a price.

Suzuki do not field more bikes because no one who has money is convinced they will commit the resources to becoming competitive.  Yamaha (presumably) have an asking price higher than HRC and Ducati, so they are not making the sales to MotoGP that the other two are.

The manufacturers are not charity outfits.  In a global economy where sponsors are hard to come by, the manufacturers are certainly not in a financial position to simply give their equipment (and people) away.  IMHO, the root of the problem is that Dorna have not managed to help sponsors realize their product is better than F1, at a comparatively bargain price.

Now, if only Mr. Abraham had stepped forward with some cash earlier in the year, Garry McCoy could have been doing a year of preparation and development work for his son to go racing in 2011...

It's more likely that no one but Ducati were willing to provide another bike. Suzuki and Yamaha have refused to provide more equipment for quite a long time. Not even Dorna has been able to change their minds. Honda and Ducati have been a lot more accommodating, but Honda may end up running 4 factory bikes next season (2 through Gresini for Simoncelli and Dovizioso). Ducati only run 5 bikes.

Ducati is a small company, but Ducati Corse has been handbuilding R models and Corse specials for decades now. Their production capabilities are quite high, even if Corse is not as well staffed or as well funded as the Japanese racing companies.

The moral of the story, imo, is that the price point for satellite bikes is much too high. Back in the day, Dorna could field 15 or more satellite bikes b/c the prices were low, and sponsors were plentiful. The satellite teams were not so conscious of their results b/c Dorna money was enough to sustain them. A bad season simply hurt their bottom line, it didn't cause them to go bankrupt.

Since the 800s, Ezpeleta has said that support to the satellite teams has gone up by 60%. The only way the satellite teams can stay in business is to hire Dorna-subsidized riders (i.e. Toseland or other Brits who make BBC happy) or hire a very well-sponsored rider from the lower classes. Most of the riders who have very good sponsor connections are Spaniards and Italians, but Talmasci and Abraham have both demonstrated that the satellite arrangement is so fragile, that teams are willing to sell seats and Dorna is even willing to let parents buy teams for their kids.

I'm not trying to condemn Abraham, but this is a horrible state of affairs. MotoGP cannot survive without healthy satellite teams. The engine rules are all about cutting costs for the satellite teams, that's why no one cares that Suzuki can't meet the engine reliability requirements.

If they are spending this much time and money to reduce 800cc costs, it makes you wonder if they aren't reconsidering the switch to 1000cc bikes for 2012.

Don't know how I feel about this one. On one hand its great that the grid is expanding and obviously the Abrahams will be bringing in sponsor money so I think that is great. However, like others have already said, Karel seems like a strange choice. That is to say its obvious he has the money to put up, but is the talent there? I think Ducati could have fielded a much better rider. I'm desperate to see Elias back on a motoGP ride where he belongs. It really does say a lot that Ducati is fielding so many bikes for such a small company while Yamaha and Suzuki hang around with the status quo. Step your game up!

Just one thing i thought testing was really limited.. Why was Karel allowed to ride the bike? does this mean they could put Johnny Rea or Leon Haslam on the Tech3 bike at Mugello to see how well they get on with it?

I believe that's the case. It's just that the really fast ones are either under contract, doing something else important or retired. The test riders can get a lot of data for some things, but I think it was most recently echoed by Jeremy Burgess that the test rider doesn't really product significant data because they can't push the machine in the same way that the top riders do. People have brought up the idea of 'try out' rides for people waiting in the wings for their GP bow. But the people that are being eyed are racing somewhere else or known quantities. The satellite teams don't have the budget for a spare bike for 'trial runs' and the factory teams don't need to have tryouts.

As for Karel Abraham, I think there's a bit of jealousy and short memories mixing up the issue. We may have gotten spoiled with the small grid and high level of competition among the factories and have forgotten that there used to be regularly lapped riders in the premier class. As for jealousy, of course it's a shame that some people have dough by birth but if it were me I'd be renting tracks and tossing Desmosedicis up the road at a regular clip just for the fun of it too.

The other thing, of course, is money. Rea, Crutchlow, Haslam et al certain deserve a test ride, but they don't have huge personal sponsors behind them that will front the cost of a day's testing on a Ducati. Nor do the teams which might employ them have the money to cover the test.

Would say Tech3 have a 2008 bike or so they could use? would probably cut the cost down a lot but still make the times irrelevant due to it being a slower bike.

The bikes are leased. That means that at the end of the season, they are handed back to the manufacturers, who put them in the crusher. Criminal, but there you go. That leaves no bikes for the satellite teams to put riders on to give them a run out on.

Perhaps Dorna should dictate that all bikes used in a championship should be made available for a private team to lease the following year? GP racing used to be full of bikes at least a year old, and yes, lapped riders used to add a dimension (albeit sometimes random) to a race. A talented rider with good engineers could still conceivably run top ten on a 1 year old bike, particularly against cashed-up guys with perhaps a bit less talent. Always used to be the case.

Is it not this instant-scrapping of every MotoGP bike, the fact that no MotoGP bike is privately owned, that's the real root cause of there being such small grids?? I mean if every satelite bike was OWNED by the team, and could be sold at the end of the year to a less cashed up team, you would instantly almost double the grid. Manufacturers would have to commit to providing spares for one extra year at break-even prices, or better yet, teams could make their own parts.

In years to come you would be able to see MotoGP bikes in various museums around the globe, they would end up in collections and eventually come out of retirement to be used in classic racing.... providing fans of the current racing the chance to enjoy the nostalgia that race rans of the 70's currently enjoy seeing TZ750's or RG500's out racing again.

But alas, the MSMA is in charge, it will not happen. Ducati is perhaps the company that is most likely to do it, fans should dare them to upset the apple cart.

Manufacturers don't want to sell 4-stroke race technology. They stopped making 500 unit homologation specials for WSBK b/c they were tired of the expense, and they didn't like their technology in the hands of private individuals.

MotoGP is even more technologically sensitive than WSBK. The manufacturers will not sell their direct-injection technology or pneumatic valve systems. They may not even have the ability to sell the pneumatic engines b/c the manufacturers are licensing the technology from an F1-tech-house themselves IIRC. I believe everyone except Honda went to Osamu Goto (Geotech Moto2 engine tuner) b/c he worked with the Honda F1 engine department during the 3.5L and 3.0L F1 era. Goto designed a system for motorcycles using what he learned at Honda F1. HRC developed their system in house b/c they have an F1 program so they didn't need to lease the technology from Geo Tech. Honestly, I can't remember all of the details as to who owns and leases what, but the point is, the manufacturers will not sell pneumatic technology.

Maybe the manufacturers would be willing to sell spring-valved engines, but spring engines would be uncompetitive and they would require constant rebuilds.

The only way to get the technology into the hands of the private teams is to commission customer engines from companies like Goto Technologies, Oral Engineering, or Ilmor. Even then the companies would likely decline to sell no matter how much Dorna or private teams paid them. WSS teams don't even sell their engines, yet WSS is all stock internals! They still don't want other teams to see how the engine prep work (mainly cylinderhead modifications) is performed.

Everything the manufacturers are willing to sell is available on stock 1000s, imo.

This just gets more depressing, and more obvious why the MSMA likes the engine limit - engines are sealed, you can't even take off the valve cover to see what's inside.
I recall JB lamenting how there was not really any work to do on the 4-strokes, mechanics who used to have the heads and barrels off every other session were bored. These days it's all just laptop twiddling, look at Tech3 - complained loud enough and they got an 'upgrade', but it was all just software. The satelite bikes only go as fast as the manufacturer allows.

Anyhow, off topic. Good for Karel, half his luck. Hope he does well, though I agree his results thus far would not indicate it's likely.

As I mentioned earlier, MotoGP (or rather 500cc) has always been open to the guy with more money than talent and aside from the factories, money has always dictated who was on the bikes. Only recently has there been more talent than bikes available.

MotoTheory.com - MotoGP Data & Statistics

Best of luck!

At least he's not buying an other's bike mid season. Like Gabor on the the honda last year.

The talk of Suzuki stepping up with more bikes doesn't make sense. At least not until the factory bikes show a little more potential.

for the first time ever i have a headache from reading these post's...sorry guys let the guy ride! You are all jealous and if your pop had the cash to fund you're racing career you would be there in a second, backmarker or not!

Looking at his team page it lists Jana Komrsková as the team coordinator. The picture is really tiny so I can't quite tell, but is that the same Jana Komrsková that is the Czech gymnast? I guess some guys can't catch a break.

ok, the computer world - especially the networked one - has ALWAYS had HACKERS & CRACKERS - most of us get our torrents & software by the good graces of these ppl (no-one on here of course :) ) so, how is it that it seems no team has employed software 'reverse-engineers' to hack/crack the factory software upgrades?

hell, if i was a team boss i would certainly try to find someone to 'crack' the numbers i could use to release engine performance, etc...

anyone?! :)

A good point, and smart thinking, but I think the factories are already way ahead of you on this. When you lease a satellite bike, the bike comes with a factory engineer, who is in charge of handling the software. He is the only person - as far as I know, but I'll check - allowed to adjust the mappings and software settings.

If the satellite teams were just given a bike and told to get on with it, then the first thing any team manager would do is get someone on cracking the software. However, they are given a guardian to go along with the bike, which puts the dampers on any such notion.