2012 Moto2 Silly Season: 30 Riders, 1 Woman And A Mass Of Defections To Kalex

After a slow start, the 2012 Moto2 grid is starting to fill out, as teams are starting to find riders for the upcoming season. The provisional grid now stands at 30 riders, with 2 more names likely to be confirmed some time in the next few weeks. With Dorna aiming for a maximum of 32 entries in the class, there is little room for new names to appear in the final run up to the 2012 season opener at Qatar in April.

The majority of the Moto2 list is very much as expected: Toni Elias returns to Moto2 with Aspar, where he joins Aspar's reigning 125cc World Champion Nico Terol; Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone stay where they were, as do Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Mika Kallio, Simone Corsi, Thom Luthi, Ratthapark Wilairot, Randy Krummenacher and Dominique Aegerter. Slightly less expected was Julian Simon moving to the BQR team, while Tito Rabat leaves BQR to take a spot at the Pons squad, alongside Pol Espargaro, who takes the seat at Pons vacated by brother Aleix, who has moved up to MotoGP. Alex de Angelis moves to the Forward Racing team after an impressive year on the Motobi at JiR, while his seat at JiR is taken by Johann Zarco, the Frenchman who pushed Nico Terol so hard to the final 125cc title. Former World Superbike rider Max Neukirchner moves to fill the very big boots left empty by 2011 champion Stefan Bradl at Kiefer, meanwhile.

The Moto2 class also sees some interesting newcomers. As well as Terol and Zarco, many people will be watching Angel Rodriguez, the former Spanish champion who was forced to stop racing for a couple of years after testing positive for illegal drugs. 'Rodri' was very highly regarded before he was suspended by the Spanish federation, and his return will be closely watched. Jonas Folger also moves up to Moto2, joining the MZ team and taking the place of Neukirchner. Folger's form was mixed in 125s, brilliant one week and forgettable the next, and the German will need to find some consistency to be competitive in Moto2. World Supersport rider Gino Rea looks almost certain to join the Gresini team, adding another promising young British rider to the grid. Rea - no relation to World Superbike rider Johnny Rea, and pronouncing his name differently (Ree-ah instead of Ray) as well - will serve as another test case as to whether WSS can serve as a feeder class for Moto2.

One rookie likely to generate a lot of media interest regardless of results is Elena Rosell. The 25-year-old Spaniard becomes only the fourth woman to race full time at the Grand Prix level, joining a select company including Katja Poensgen of Germany, Taru Rinne of Finland and the Japanese rider Tomoko Igata. Rosell rode as a wildcard with the Aspar team at Assen, Aragon and Valencia, though she - and the Aspar team - faced criticism for failing to qualify at Assen, and failing to impress at either of the Spanish races. Rosell struggled at Aragon as well, but at Valencia, the Spaniard was much closer to the pace of the Grand Prix regulars, though still finishing 25th. The massive media interest in her at all three of her appearances may have been a factor in her results, and a full season in Moto2 should give everyone concerned a much better view of Rosell's real ability, and open the doors for more female riders.

A more interesting development is in the area of chassis. Both Suter and FTR have fallen out of favor, with Suter supplying just 7 bikes instead of 13 last year, and FTR down 4, with 8 probable customers rather than 12. Kalex is the big winner, as expected after Stefan Bradl took the title on a Kalex in 2011, with 5 riders switching to the German chassis maker. Marc VDS Racing is probably the biggest team to make the switch, with both Scott Redding and Mika Kallio pronouncing themselves happy with the new chassis, but Andrea Iannone is also said to be on the brink of making the switch, after having tested the Kalex at Valencia and ignoring the FTR he had in the garage as well.

Success clearly sells, though the perceived favoritism that Suter showed to Marc Marquez was also a factor for some teams to decide to drop the Swiss firm. For FTR, their failure to book solid and consistent results - despite several podiums - worked against the British firm, while several teams also expressed their concern at the amount of work FTR were taking on, building both Moto2 and Moto3 bikes, along with separate MotoGP machines for Gresini and BQR, as well as planning a chassis for the Aprilia engine. 

The risk is that Kalex could also find themselves overextended in 2012, with the German chassis builder supplying 9 riders in Moto2, as well as partnering with KTM to supply at least 3 Moto3 riders, a major expansion of their program from 2011. Last season, Kalex had just 4 bikes on the Moto2 grid.

The number of chassis manufacturers looks to have settled at six. Kalex, FTR and Suter continue to dominate the class, with Moriwaki supplying the QMMF team, and Tech 3 cutting their involvement from 3 to 2 bikes (partly due to Guy Coulon starting work on both a Moto3 and a MotoGP chassis for when the team moves to take on CRT status in 2013). Motobi - basically, a Japanese TSR chassis badged with an old Italian motorcycle brand - continue to support the JiR team, expanding their commitment from 1 to 2 bikes. 

Below is the latest list, as of December 13th 2011. A revised list can also be found here.

No. Rider Bike Team
3 Simone Corsi FTR IODA Racing
4 Randy Krummenacher Kalex GP Team Switzerland
5 Johann Zarco Motobi JiR
9 Kenny Noyes AJR Bainet Sport
12 Thom Luthi Suter TT Motion Events
14 Ratthapark Wilairot FTR Team SAG
15 Alex de Angelis Suter Forward Racing
18 Nico Terol Suter Mapfre Aspar
19 Xavier Simeon Tech 3 Tech 3
21 Alessandro Andreozzi FTR Speed Up
24 Toni Elias Suter Mapfre Aspar
29 Andrea Iannone FTR Speed Up Speed Master
34 Tito Rabat Kalex Pons
36 Mika Kallio Kalex Marc VDS
38 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Tech 3
41 Pol Espargaro Kalex Pons
44 Roby Rolfo Suter Technomag CIP
45 Scott Redding Kalex Marc VDS
47 Angel Rodriguez FTR Team SAG
57 Eric Granado Motobi JiR
60 Julian Simon FTR BQR
71 Claudio Corti Kalex Italtrans
72 Yuki Takahashi Suter Forward Racing
73 Takaaki Nakagami Kalex Italtrans
76 Max Neukirchner Kalex Kiefer Racing
77 Dominique Aegerter Suter Technomag CIP
80 Axel Pons Kalex Pons
82 Elena Rosell Moriwaki QMMF
88 Ricky Cardus Moriwaki QMMF
93 Marc Marquez Suter Monlau Competicion
94 Jonas Folger FTR MZ
  Gino Rea Moriwaki Gresini
  Bernd Hiemer FTR MZ

Rider numbers not final yet. Numbers from riders entering the championship based on numbers used in previous championships.

Compiled in part with help from Phil Price and David Suarez. Last updated on December 13th, 2011.

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.... on getting this list together.

Good work.

9 Kalex machines for 2012 vs only 4 (?) for 2011.

8 FTR's & 8 Suters + all the rest.

I can see the Moto2 class (yet again) been the best racing championship of 2012 with the "1000s" been the support class to this fantastic title.

If Moto3 proves only 10% as good as Moto2, then that too will be more entertaining then the 1000's.

I do feel that the CRT class of bikes will be far more exciting to watch. In all the decades of been a rider / fan / spectator, I have not witnessed any more boring & dull races at the last 2 years of 800 GP racing. If it was not for championships like the 125's & the Moto2 class, the entire Championship would have been branded a joke.

Great list of riders for Moto2, a lot of talent & a fair few world champions in there to boot.
Just think, if Bradl was still in Moto2! Like it needs to be any better.

According to GPone last Wednesday he's still seeing double.

What on earth is going on with him?? Surely it does not take a temporary injury this long to clear up? Could this be a more serious (and permanent?) injury than others were first thinking of?

This could be more serious, but Marquez could also recover fully. The problem is that eyes and head are very vulnerable and complicated, and the bruising and swelling he suffered in his eye socket (as I understand it) could just be taking a long time to disappear. If he's still having problems by the end of January, then he could be in big trouble. But it's more likely the problem will have disappeared.

..... that MM93 is fully fit and this injury does not put him out of the first few races....... or worse OUT.

Funny how he was able to ride straight after it happened. Did he have the correct flag on his passport I wonder. It would not be the first time this has happened.

Any info on Noyes' team and chassis ? I've googled, no result.

Well, she was unlucky but the Qatar team as showed trust to her, how she will do in a moriwaki is unknown when the season starts we will have a better idea.

Off topic, because Rosell will get in, I want to see Elena Myers on track too, she rocks and she is hot.