2011 Moto2 Line Up - The First Wild Guess - Updated

Putting together a list of riders for the 2011 Moto2 season has proven to be a remarkably intractable task. Fear and uncertainty stalks the Moto2 paddock, not least because the full list of admitted teams was not released until last weekend at Estoril. The list contains 22 teams with space for 40 riders, though doubt remains over whether the teams will be able to fill all 40 seats.

Below is the information that MotoMatters.com has been able to glean from a range of sources so far. There are still a huge number of gaps as far as riders are concerned, as teams and riders scramble for cash with which to fund rides, and as teams weigh up their options in terms of riders. Even the names that are available are still not certain, and changes are expected all the way up to Sunday night, the eve of the first Moto2 test of the 2011 season. Sunday night seems to be a pretty solid deadline, however, as the teams are keen to test on Monday, and nobody will be testing without a contract.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the drastic reduction in the number of chassis manufacturers involved. Some 15 different chassis will line up on Sunday (or more factually, 14, as the Speed Up machines are basically FTR chassis with Speed Up bodywork), but there could be half that number next season. The main reason for the drop in the number of chassis makers is quite simply fear, nobody wanting to risk the kind of failure that the RSV or NCR chassis showed early in the 2010 season. For that reason, a large number of teams have sprung for the Suter chassis, the support provided making it the apparently safe option.

As much of this list is based on rumor and conjecture, it should be treated with a certain amount of caution. However, it represents what we know so far, and what we know so far can be summarized with the words "not much."

The 2011 Moto2 line-up so far: 

Forward Racing Suter Jules Cluzel ???
G22 Racing Team Suter Fonsi Nieto Raffaele de Rosa
Gresini Racing Moriwaki Kenan Sofuoglu? Michele Pirro?
Holiday Gym Racing * Moriwaki Yannick Guerra/Xavier Simeon?  
Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2 * Suter Thomas Luthi  
Iodaracing Project FTR Simone Corsi? Mattia Pasini?
Italtrans Racing Team Suter Roby Rolfo ???
Jack & Jones by A. Banderas Suter Kenny Noyes Yuki Takahashi? Hiroshi Aoyama?
JIR Moto2 Motobi Simone Corsi? Alex de Angelis
Mapfre Aspar Team Suter Julian Simon ???
Marc VDS Racing Suter? Scott Redding Yuki Takahashi? Hector Faubel?
Monlau Competicion * FTR? Marc Marquez  
MZ Motor MZ Max Neukirchner Ant West?
QMMF Racing Team Suter Mashel al Naimi ???
Racing Team By Quereseno FTR Esteve Rabat Yonny Hernandez?
Stop and Go Racing Team Bimota/FTR? ??? ???
Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 Bradley Smith Mike di Meglio
Technomag CIP Suter Kenan Sofuoglu? Dominique Aegerter
Tenerife 40 Pons Kalex Axel Pons Aleix Espargaro
Tuenti Speed Up FTR Pol Espargaro ???
Viessman Kiefer Racing Kalex Stefan Bradl Randy Krummenacher
WTR/Speed Master Team * Suter/FTR? Andrea Iannone  

* Teams with one rider only
Riders with a question mark (?) behind their name are not certain. Three question marks (???) mean that the rider is unknown. An empty space means the team has only one rider.

Updated: Added Tito Rabat to BQR, Suter & Luthi for Interwetten, Kalex for Kiefer. Hernandez at BQR (from Racesport.nl).

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The idea that silly season would extend right up to the deadline for testing - for the vast majority of teams - is astounding. Probably not surprising as the state of affairs in Moto2 is more tenuous than all the fanfare would suggest. Still and all, this is madness. They might as well line the riders up and pick them by lottery.

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that the diversity of chasis has gone down considerably this year, but i guess it is survival of the fittest in the grand prix level of motorcycle racing.

Atleast we can get to see what kenny noyes can do with competitive machinery.

There was such a big deal made of the cost of leasing a factory Aprilia in 250s, so much so that the class was killed. Now just a year into Moto2, the grid is potentially reduced by half in terms of different chassis manufacturers. The natural racing evolution has begun where the grid converges on one ideal package under the set of rules. It is only a matter of time now before resources begin to lag behind demand driving prices skyward. If you want to compete you need the best and the deepest pockets will prevail. Moto2 may have killed the 250 class but it did nothing to address the root cause of the high cost of the factory Aprilias, supply and demand.

By a quick count, Davids list contains 8 manufacturers. Please tell me at what point you saw even close to 16 makes in this years field?!

I partially get some of your points, including the unfortunate but inevitable loss of some bike builders. However saying that the overall number has been chopped in half is a gross exaggeration. Feel free to prove me wrong and name at least 8 manufacturers that have left since the the beginning of the season (Aprilla does not count, as they never officially entered).

Of course it's a dog eat dog motorsport world, and the better bikes will invariably be more popular. This will of course drive out the odd builder here and there, but I can instantly think of a half dozen racing series that would kill to have anywhere near 8 manufacturers. Personally, it seems like more than a healthy number.

And as for the cost issue, it's far less dire than your making out. Are you telling me that the WC winning Moriwaki are pricey unrivaled powerhouses? Suter have popularity because they have THE cheapest package price (save MZ probably). Fortunately for them they happened to build a killer machine to boot. There was a tv special pre season giving a general rundown on the costs of the different bikes, so before I get the 'how do you know?' questions.... that's how. The regulations are very well structured in sense of cost effectiveness. Not perfect, but then nothing is. Maybe you should read them one day, I'd bet a decent sum you haven't.

Obviously your a glass half full sort of person. I like to see the merit in peoples efforts to make sport better. Whether they succeed or fail.

You said:

"By a quick count, Davids list contains 8 manufacturers. Please tell me at what point you saw even close to 16 makes in this years field?!"

David's article said:

"Perhaps the biggest surprise is the drastic reduction in the number of chassis manufacturers involved. Some 15 different chassis will line up on Sunday (or more factually, 14, as the Speed Up machines are basically FTR chassis with Speed Up bodywork), but there could be HALF THAT NUMBER next season."

I never stated numbers.

The point, which you missed, was that the reason the Aprilia GP bike was so expensive is because it was the most successful bike on the grid. Because it was so successful it almost became necessity to start with the Aprilia if you wanted to compete. Aprilia was in a position to service a certain amount of bikes for the field and they essentially had a monopoly in the 250 class. The bikes cost as much as they did because they could charge that much and people would pay, not because it actually cost Aprilia that much to make the bikes. Applying that to Moto2 and you can see the beginning of the trend. It started with the few teams who abandoned their early chassis manufacturer's in favor of the one running at the front, Suter for example. That was only a few rounds into the series. Now going into year two, we see another big chunk of the chassis manufacturer's being left behind in favor of the winning-est chassis. That is natural progression, motor sports Darwinism as you say. Now at some point there are going to be strains. Suter, or whomever rises to the top, will have enough resources to provide chassis and the required support to a certain amount of teams. At some point demand will exceed supply and prices will go up. The natural extension of this logic path is that at some point in the future we will have come full circle and returned to exactly where we were with the Aprilia: one bike with an exorbitant price tag, but plenty of teams willing to pay it so they can compete.

I can't count: I counted 7 chassis, but there are in fact 8 chassis. Of those, the Tech 3, Motobi and MZ are basically team efforts, while Suter and FTR dominate, and Kalex and Moriwaki supply smaller numbers.

But you are correct, Suter is the new Aprilia. Suter already has different packages for different budgets, with access to upgrades at different times according to the amount paid. It's very clever, and resembles the Aprilia and Honda model an awful lot. The rich teams will still get the best stuff, but then again, they've already got the best riders and best engineers, so there's no real change there.

I guess you could consider that a drastic reduction, but the reality is that so many manufacturers were never going to survive long term. And I doubt anyone, including the rulemakers, expected anything else. It was sort of built into the architecture if you like that only a certain percentage would survive.

As far as the likes of Suter gaining a stranglehold on Moto2, I'm just not willing to jump on that bandwagon without a crystal ball. And unfortunately they don't exist. David definitely made a valid point as far as the growing comparison between them and Aprillia, but I just dont think the way Moto2 is setup will allow any one builder to utterly dominate the way Aprillia did. In 250cc, no-one even considered going toe to to with them. Honda sort of kept up appearances, and the odd mark came along every so often, but Aprillia was basically a heavyweight who's only potential opponents were amatuer lightweights with no intention of fighting mike tyson. The good thing about Moto2 is that for the playing field is much more level.

Of course natural selection will take it's course. That I cant argue with. I just dont think the future is quite as gloomy as you believe.

The problem with the 250s was that Honda and Yamaha essentially abandoned the class leaving the Aprilia squad as the de-facto team to beat. For a while, there were Hondas and Yamahas on the grid, but they stopped getting factory development long before they left. During that time Aprilia was able to consolidate its position as the best bike in the class. The 250 class didn't become the Aprilia cup because of an evil Aprilia master plan, but because it was left to them and they made some pretty savvy moves.

Now the way I see it with Moto2 is tat it could very easily head in that same direction. It is my understanding that the majority of the bikes on the field amount to nothing more than customer bikes, the teams buy them. That means that there is very little vested interest in a team staying with any particular builder to try and catch up to the competition. Attrition will be very high as the weaker builders fall by the way side and the stronger builders gain market share. Without some sort of mechanism to keep some of the weaker players in the game (vested factory interest) the field will continue to dwindle until the Aprilia scenerio becomes reality.

Of course you could change the format every few years to keep that from happening (a reset which would have kept the two strokes viable as well), but as we have seen in MotoGP all that does is opens a new can of worms.

Personally I am hoping for the 250/500/1000cc to become reality. I really would like to see the likes of Aprilia, KTM and others return to the fold. The current Moto2 structure does not lend itself to any of the OEMs entering the class except for Honda.

If Matia Pasini isn't in one of those question mark slots it's a crying shame. He struggled this year but it's hardly an idea condition where you have to acclimate to new bikes, new teams and always unstable support. I think he deserves another shot.

Aw shucks, I'd like to see what Yonni Hernandez would do with a different chassis. I love watching him and Simon sliding their bikes around.

Hernandez will probably be at BQR. Updated the story to reflect this. 

The belgian rider Xavier Simeon (Stock 1000 champion in 2009) has inked his deal with one bike spanish team Holiday Gym.

I understand that Simeon has a contract with Holiday Gym, but that because Yannick Guerra's father owns the team, and the team only has one rider slot, Guerra will most probably take that ride.

..as Simeon officialized the deal yesterday afternoon on french speaking Eurosport. This said, silly season is like Dallas....

Interesting discussion, but I don't think a single Moto2 chassis builder will rise to the top so soon. You can't compare it with 250's simply because Aprillia also made the engine in that scenario.

Isn't the engine a pretty important and expensive part of the motorcycle? The engine and ECU is the great equalizer in Moto2.

Developing a chassis for a spec engine series is not nearly as expensive as trying to beat Aprillia in 250's.

Been reading on a couple of less-reliable sites that Kallio has signed with Marc VDS Racing (as of this morning), alongside Scott Redding, for 2011. Any word on that?

That's correct. As far as I have been able to verify, Mika Kallio will be riding for Marc VDS next year. 

I was firmly under impression he was going to take a year off or quit racing altogether. Then he mentioned in local media that he's going to be back racing and is still dreaming of returning to MotoGP. He told he had been contacted by 4 Moto2 teams and I can only assume it had boosted his confidence a lot as he noticed some people still believed in his abilities. He also hinted the quitting speculation was just to give the yellow papers something to write of when he couldn't supply any race results. Despite shoulder damage he said the biggest reason for bad 2010 season was the bike which he didn't get along with. During winter tests he already thought this is not going to end up well.

Seeing the talented Espargaro brothers go at it in the same class is going to be quite entertaining. If the two of them ever get caught in a battle together out at the front (or anywhere, for that matter), I imagine there will be some sparks.

Shame we can't get them both on the same team, though.