2013 MotoGP Rider Line Up: The Grid Begins To Fill Up

With all of MotoGP's factory seats filled, and most of the satellite seats occupied as well, we can start to draw up a list of who goes where in 2013 and beyond. Though three satellite spots remain open, those, too, could be filled soon, probably before the MotoGP paddock reconvenes at Misano in just over a week's time. 

The big question mark, of course, is what will happen to the CRT teams. Though CRT has proven to be a very cheap way of entering MotoGP, the CRT machines are still a long way from being competitive, the Aprilia-powered ART machines of the Aspar team having gotten closest so far, occasionally nipping at the heels of the satellite prototypes. With a spec ECU to be introduced for the CRT bikes in 2013, and a rev limit and spec ECU for all of MotoGP - CRT and prototype - in 2014, the CRT teams will have to grit their teeth for another year and target the hindmost of the satellite bikes. Dorna has little choice but to subsidize the bikes for another year, until the playing field is leveled.

That doesn't mean that we cannot make some educated guesses at who will ride for the Claiming Rule Teams in 2013. Below is a list of what we already know for 2013, as well as a few educated guesses as to who will take the spots still left vacant. Here is the 2013 MotoGP line up so far:

Repsol Honda
Repsol Honda have their Spanish dream team for 2013, with Moto2 phenomenon Marc Marquez taking the seat alongside Dani Pedrosa left vacant by the shock departure of Casey Stoner. Though HRC made a play for Jorge Lorenzo - which would have endangered the position of Dani Pedrosa - Lorenzo's decision to stay with Yamaha gives Pedrosa another two years in the safe seat at Repsol.
Dani Pedrosa 2014 Pedrosa's seat looked under serious threat when HRC offered serious money to Jorge Lorenzo to leave Yamaha, but Lorenzo's decision to stay put gives Pedrosa another two years at Repsol, where he will be both Honda's main title contender and act as mentor for Marquez. After that, there is every chance that Pedrosa will follow the example of Stoner and retire, as the Spaniard has spoken frequently of not racing for much longer.
Marc Marquez 2014 Marc Marquez has been groomed to be the next Spanish MotoGP champion, and shows every prospect of fulfilling that expectation. There has been some complaints that Marquez has had an easy ride throughout his career, and while he has enjoyed full backing and has had plenty of extra testing, he has also shown just why he has had that backing on a number of occasions, winning from improbable situations and scoring solid points when he has not been able to win. Spending 2012 on the Suter Moto2 machine - clearly inferior to the all-conquering Kalex - has been good for Marquez' development, as it has forced him to find ways to win and get results when the odds have gone against him. Marquez brings a large entourage with him, but could end up with Casey Stoner's crew chief Cristian Gabarrini heading the team for next season.
Factory Yamaha
Yamaha's initial plan for 2013 was to have Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies continue their partnership for the next season. Lorenzo was their first priority, and they signed a deal very early with the Spaniard, then waited for Ben Spies to score some results before offering him a deal. But Spies' shocking season led to a shock decision, to leave the Factory Yamaha team - and indeed, Yamaha, and any chance of ever riding for Yamaha again in the future - at the end of the year. This opened the door for a replacement, with Andrea Dovizioso the hot favorite for the seat. Until Valentino Rossi finally admitted defeat at Ducati, that is, the Italian returning to Yamaha, and likely to end his career there.
Jorge Lorenzo 2014 Jorge Lorenzo had no shortage of offers earlier this season. With Casey Stoner retiring, Lorenzo became the hot favorite for the next few seasons. Despite a big money offer from Honda, Lorenzo elected to stay at Yamaha, seeing it as his best chance of winning more championships in the future. The return of Valentino Rossi has troubled the waters somewhat, but Yamaha's management have gone out of their way to make it clear that Lorenzo will be the number 1 rider, will lead development, and is the future for the brand.
Valentino Rossi 2014 2012 was the year that Valentino Rossi finally admitted defeat. Neither he nor his legendary crew had been able to achieve success at Ducati, and despite the incoming cubic dollars and expertise from Ducati's new owners Audi, Rossi could no longer afford to wait. After several false dawns, Rossi finally jumped ship and returned to the bike he helped to make, and that suits his late-braking, high corner speed style. Just how much damage two years on the Ducati have done to his ability and his style remains to be seen, though he is widely expected to be competitive, for podiums at least, and probably for wins, right from the off. His biggest challenge is that in those two years, Jorge Lorenzo has got better and better, and is going to be a very tough nut to crack. It will be an interesting couple of years.
Factory Ducati
After bending over backwards to retain Valentino Rossi - even offering Nicky Hayden another contract at the behest of the Italian, it is said - Ducati finally lost the battle. A continuing lack of results and a bike that still has both chronic understeer and an excessively aggressive power delivery, causing traction issues and serious tire wear, caused Rossi to go. Rossi's replacement is to be another Italian, Andrea Dovizioso, much to the chagrin of Dovizioso's current teammate Cal Crutchlow, who was kept hanging by Ducati for the best part of two months before being turned down. Nicky Hayden will be the stable factor, while Dovizioso will hope that the input from Audi will help to speed up development and make the bike competitive once again. Audi is the real wildcard here: though it will take some time to filter through, the sheer size and scale of Audi's operations mean that Ducati should be able to go from design to finished part much more quickly, and the expertise on offer - not specific to bikes, perhaps, but knowledge of materials, combustion, and many other factors will all come in useful - should also accelerate progress. By the end of 2013, Ducati should start to have made some big steps forward.
Nicky Hayden 2013 Nicky Hayden got the result he richly deserved for his Stakhanovite labors at the Bologna factory, pushing the bike hard and frequently matching and beating Rossi's times on the Desmosedici in 2012. Hayden was offered a one-year deal, with Ducati citing the importance of the US market to the brand as one of the reasons to keep Hayden at Bologna, though the fact that Hayden is fast and never criticizes the factory are also big factors. With Rossi gone, Hayden should now take the lead in developing the bike, as he will be entering his fifth season with the factory.
Andrea Dovizioso 2014 In 2011, when he was on the way out at Repsol Honda, Andrea Dovizioso was wary of Ducati, citing the example of Marco Melandri in 2008. A year later, Dovizioso's trepidation has apparently disappeared, the Italian signing a two-year deal with the Bologna factory. So what changed? Firstly, the offer of a ride in the factory team, an option that was not available to Dovizioso at Yamaha, his preferred option. Winning races and contending for championships is only possible with factory backing, and as good as the support was in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, it was not at the level of the factory. The second thing that has changed is Ducati, the Italian firm having been bought by Audi, with the promise of a radically improved development program. It is a gamble, Dovizioso knows, but one which could pay off well, especially in year two of the deal. If Dovizioso does well on the Ducati, he will have succeeded where Valentino Rossi failed. If he fails, he will have done no worse than Rossi, and so his reputation, at least, should be safe.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
If you can't have a seat in a factory team, then Tech 3 is the next best thing. The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team has enjoyed strong support from Yamaha in 2012, the bike being very close to the factory machines. But most of all, Tech 3 has had its strongest line up ever, with both Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow hitting the podium this year, and constantly threatening the front runners. Wins may not have been on the cards, but both men have been very impressive indeed. Even more important to a satellite team is press coverage, and between Dovizioso's podiums and Crutchlow's wit, team boss Herve Poncharal has had little cause for complaint. For 2013, Tech 3 should still see a steady stream of media trooping through their hospitality unit, coming to listen to what Cal Crutchlow has to say, while Bradley Smith steps up from the Tech 3 Moto2 team to complete an all-British line up for the team.
Cal Crutchlow 2013 Cal Crutchlow is disappointed not to have a factory ride for 2013, but his method of negotiating through the media did prove remarkably effective in getting the Englishman a hefty pay rise. He had been hoping for a seat in the factory Ducati team but the promised phone call from Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio never appeared. Neither did a contract for Crutchlow to sign, and once Rossi signed with Yamaha, and Dovizioso with Ducati, Crutchlow was left fuming, and with severely limited options. Crutchlow's contract is for just 2013, so the Englishman will likely spend next season examining his options for 2014. With Suzuki likely to make a full-time return in two years' time, Crutchlow might still get that factory ride...
Bradley Smith 2014 There has been plenty of head-scratching over Tech 3's decision to offer Bradley Smith a two-year deal in 2011, giving the Oxfordshire youngster a year in Moto2 for this season and then a guarantee of a MotoGP ride for 2013. Smith has so far failed to win a single race in Moto2, so why would he get a MotoGP ride? The answer is simple: riding the Tech 3 Moto2 bike has convinced the team of Smith's potential, sufficiently to offer him an extra year, Smith being offered an extension which will see him racing a Yamaha M1 in 2013 and 2014. The Tech 3 Moto2 bike, while well put together, is built and designed in the team's spare time, unlike Kalex, FTR and Suter, who have a team working full time on the bike. So naturally, the machine is lagging in terms of development. Scoring the results that he has is a feat in itself for Bradley Smith, but he will need to keep that same level of intensity if he is to succeed in MotoGP.
LCR Honda
Lucio Cecchinello's LCR Honda team has a track record of doing amazing things with limited means. After an extremely tough year with Toni Elias - a marriage of convenience, made at the behest of Dorna for the first ever Moto2 champion - LCR has hit paydirt with 2011 Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl. Bradl has been impressive, and helped LCR keep their profile very high, helped by such initiatives as the LCR Inspire magazine. The team is hoping for even more next year, when Bradl gets upgraded material from HRC.
Stefan Bradl 2013 Bradl is in the middle of a two-year deal that will see him return to the LCR Honda team for next season. The German will also have uprated material, with a factory-spec bike likely to be supplied to the LCR team for 2013. Bradl is being closely watched by the factories, with both HRC and Ducati very keen on the German, both because of his profile in key markets for the manufacturers, and because of his obvious talent. Bradl vs Marquez next season could be a very interesting battle indeed, and if Bradl comes out on top, it could see him with some interesting offers for 2014.
Gresini Honda
As the only confirmed team with a prototype still available for 2013, Gresini is an attractive prospect right at the minute. It was long thought that Gresini really needed an Italian or Spanish rider to satisfy their sponsor, snack manufacturer San Carlo. But with the company moving into the UK market, this opens up possibilities for a British rider as well. Current favorite for the seat is Scott Redding, though Alvaro Bautista is also in the frame. What becomes of Gresini's CRT project is unknown, though it is likely to continue, as it has performed surprisingly well against the Aprilias. Here, too, a rider is an unknown quantity at the moment.
Scott Redding?/Alvaro Bautista?   Scott Redding is the hot favorite to take the Gresini RC213V at the moment, the young Englishman having the edge over Alvaro Bautista, a fresh face and untapped potential trumping a rider who has been in the series for several years now. An announcement is expected soon: possibly as early as this week, almost certainly before the upcoming round at Misano, just a few miles from Gresini's home base.
Pramac Ducati/Ducati Junior Team?
The Ducati Junior team has been a  long time in the making - much longer than initially expected, Ducati team boss Alessandro Cicognani telling MotoMatters.com that he expected it to be sorted before Indianapolis. Even now, the details are not clear, nor is it even 100% certain that the team will actually take to the track. But a junior team fits into the plans that Ducati have announced to field four bikes of equal spec to help speed up development. Pramac are the current candidates to run the team, as Pramac already has extensive experience with Ducati. In terms of riders, Ben Spies appears to be very close to a deal, while Ducati already has an option on Andrea Iannone, which expires this month. Like Gresini Honda, an announcement is believed to be imminent, with the seats possibly filled by the time the paddock reconvenes at Misano.
Ben Spies?   Ben Spies is proving to be full of surprises in 2012. Leaving aside his truly astonishing run of bad luck - undetected fractures in parts, shearing bolts, engine blowouts, overheating clutches - his announcement that he would be leaving Yamaha, the most highly-prized seat in the paddock in 2012, was almost as stunning as Casey Stoner's announcement that he was retiring. Now, Spies is widely expected to announce that he will be signing with Ducati to race in the junior team, with the announcement possibly coming as early as Thursday or Friday this week. Leaving the best bike on the grid to ride what is universally acknowledged to be the worst of the prototypes is almost incomprehensible, but here once again the offer of factory support will be key. We will only get the chance to try to understand the mind of Ben Spies when he makes his plans public; until then, all that remains is speculation.
Andrea Iannone?/Danilo Petrucci?   Ducati wants a young rider, unfamiliar with Japanese equipment, and willing to push a bike hard. They believe they have found what they have been looking for in Andrea Iannone, 'Crazy Joe' is certainly known for his fearlessness. Whether he can also tame the Ducati and provide the necessary feedback for development is another question. For that reason, Ducati is also keeping an eye on Danilo Petrucci: Petrucci could be the fallback position for Ducati if Iannone does not work out.
NGM Forward
NGM Forward were the pioneers of CRT, the team being the first to sign up for the new category, enlisting Colin Edwards as the poster boy. But the Suter BMW has proved a hard nut to crack, the bike still a very long way off from being competitive, and needing a lot of work, especially on the electronics. NGM Forward have the option of continuing in 2013, though it remains to be seen whether they will drop the Suter and switch to Aprilia or not, as had been expected for the Misano round. Help could come in the shape of the spec ECU which Magneti Marelli will be providing for the CRT bikes in 2013, which should help smooth the power delivery of the BMW. But the bigger step will come in 2014, when a spec ECU will be introduced for all of the bikes, prototype and CRT, closing the gap for the CRT machines. 
Colin Edwards 2013 Colin Edwards is in the middle of a two-year deal, the only question mark being whether he still has the desire to race if his only option is another year on a CRT bike. The challenge he set himself has proven to be much more daunting than expected; a machine switch might provide the inspiration to get Edwards back on track. Whether the bike is that much better is up for debate, but something different may give Edwards the half a second or so that almost every rider can find in the right circumstances.
Aspar MotoGP
Aspar has proven to be part of the foundation of CRT, much as was expected of the team. Jorge Martinez' operation has always been outstanding, at every level that the team has competed at. Partnering with Aprilia to develop the ART concept, and signing two strong riders in Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro has helped make the team the most competitive of the CRTs. Continuing on the chosen path is probably Aspar's best choice at the moment, with the team benefiting from the exposure that being best CRT provides.
Randy de Puniet?   Randy de Puniet was deeply disappointed to have missed out on a ride on a prototype, but he has risen to the challenge of the CRTs. Constantly battling with his teammate, and on occasion getting surprisingly close to the tail end of the satellite machines has shown that De Puniet is missing little in terms of desire or ability. Another year where he is could put the Frenchman in the driving seat when Suzuki return in 2014, and if BMW enter too, De Puniet could be spoiled for choice.
Aleix Espargaro?   Aleix Espargaro has been impressive in 2012, keeping his far more experienced teammate honest and swapping positions as best CRT rider all year. Espargaro's stated intention is to stay in MotoGP until his brother Pol arrives, expected to be in 2014, and another year with the Aspar team is a sensible choice for the Spaniard.
BQR, like Aspar, is a sizable and strong outfit, which should be capable of continuing in MotoGP as a CRT for 2013. Plans as yet are unknown, but retaining their current riders could be a positive option for the team.
Yonny Hernandez?   Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez has made a lot of fans this year, with his spectacular style and aggressive approach. But Hernandez is not just spectacular - backing the FTR Kawasaki in the way the riders used to in the 990 era, before slipper clutches and electronics straightened the bikes out - he is also genuinely fast, achieving results on the BQR CRT bike that simply had not been expected at the beginning of the year. The Kawasaki engine is a tough power plant to house in a chassis, but Hernandez has found a way to make it competitive. Hernandez should have the budget to return in 2013, and Dorna is very keen to keep him, seeing the Colombian as a foot in the door for the lucrative South American market.
David Salom?   With David Salom due to replace Ivan Silva at Misano, it seems reasonable to expect that the Mallorcan could continue next season as well. Salom has experience with the Kawasaki WSBK machine, which will stand him in good stead, but whether that will be enough to retain a spot for next season remains to be seen.
Paul Bird Motorsport
Paul Bird of the eponymous PBM team has said that they will be back in 2013 with a two-man team, with British riders and a British CRT project. What that project will be is intriguing, with very few candidates springing immediately to mind. As for riders, James Ellison seems a good bet to retain his seat, the Englishman having got up to speed after a bumpy start and very little testing. Who the second rider will be is a mystery.
James Ellison?   James Ellison's return to MotoGP has not been smooth, team owner Paul Bird having threatened him with the sack early in the season. But Ellison has put his head down and improved, scoring steady points in the CRT category, though still some way from the front. Ellison is the most obvious candidate to keep a seat in the PBM team for 2013, and another year with the team would provide some kind of continuity, especially if the team is trying to develop a brand new machine.
???   PBM's second rider is a mystery. It will almost certainly be someone from the BSB series, though whether it is someone with a chance of the BSB title seems unlikely.
Cardion AB?
The divorce between Cardion and Ducati has not been pretty, with Karel Abraham criticizing Ducati publicly a number of times. He cannot ride this bike, he has said, and the team has also expressed a dissatisfaction at the support they have received. Cardion had originally been angling for a Honda, but those bikes are already secured. That leaves the team with CRT status as the only option, but this could work out in the team's favor: better to be challenging for best CRT status than to be languishing at the rear of the field.
Karel Abraham   After a strong rookie season, Abraham has struggled in 2012. It seems certain that he will be racing in 2013, in the team owned and run by his father. What bike he is riding is anyone's guess, though the obvious choice would be an Aprilia ART machine. 


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James Ellison was NOT threatened with the Sack. You failed to mention that he and THE TEAM had no testing on that bike prior to Entering their machine in Motogp This year. I fail to see that his results are his fault when in actual fact they are Testing in a race situation Something that always seems to befall only Ellison. He tested Dunlop tyres for Tech 3 and Tested the year before for WCM. Something that only James has done. I can't help but feel he is once again being made a scape goat. Come on Mr Emmet there is more than James in the Team . They were NOT prepared. Not his fault.

So you're saying that Paul Bird saying he was putting Shane Byrne on the PBM bike at Le Mans, before back pedalling and, prior to that, openly asking riders to apply for the ride at the first round of the BSB championship at Brands Hatch wasn't the threat of the sack?

Maybe Paul Bird is to bike racing publicity what Michael O'Leary is to airline publicity - any way to get in the press is worth it - but his unguarded comments, plus his official statements were clear threats to James Ellison's status in the team.

Screw the JR Ducati team. Call it TEAM AMERICA and put Spies and Hayden in the red white and blue with eagles, and stuff!

.. sounds like Captain America.

What is next? Hulk and Iron man?

Sorry but ... eeeh, what ever makes you happy.

yeah! crazy joe iannone - thats EXACTLY what we need!! i like that kid - kind of reminds me of old marco RIP. a 'wild man' we need to keep the ninnies honest! ;)

If Johnny Rea does a good job in the upcoming GPs as Stoners replacement, I would think the Honda Corperation would form a team for him in 2013, backed by either HRC or carrying a Honda brand i.e. Honda Acccessories.

Would DORNA refuse them a grid spot? I think not

may be a possible spot for Rea.

Both are well thought of by HRC and IF Jonny does well in the next two races, surely he will be offered the chance to step up?

He'd also be well placed to help San Carlo's UK push coming from Nothern Ireland.

A Gresini, HRC backed satellite team like Tech3 would be good news..the only fly in the ointment being Carmelo's insistence on four prototypes per manufacturer.

Honda support all classes and put more in than any other manufacturer. On one hand it could make sense for them to have an extra prototype, a sort of dollar spent, sliding scale benefit..but on the other, we don't want them dictating rules and giving the impression they own GP.

Dorna is right to try and break the apparent stranglehold and level the racing playing field but, too much back-tracking to appease will have the manufacturers laughing up their Kimono sleeves safe in the knowledge they are bluffing about more important technical rule changes..such as a spec ECU.

be expected to justify every comment/observation. Sometimes you have to take things on trust - even though you may have many questions.
Why you thought he was criticising JE I cannot fathom - he's said he deserves another year - how many people in the world could he say that about?
It's a compliment.
JE's problem and hope is Paul Bird - now, what goes on in that man's mind and pockets intrigues me. One thing is for sure - he's a bike racing fan.
I would place a bet on 'Shakey' Byrne having a 1 year seat with an option for 2 if Stuart Easton cannot get his strength and durability back. Byrne has shown he is a class act who doesn't need a perfect bike to put it up the front of the pack. He is also very media friendly and interesting without being controversial - good for sponsors.

Agree with all that.

I too think Shakey would be a great choice, but as David says, that would be taking a serious BSB contender out of the ring. My only reservation would be that for whatever reason, Shane never really got to the sharp end in WSBK.

Hasn't Shakey ridden in Moto GP as well years ago? Can't be bothered to Google it!

I believe Ben Spies' decision to go to Ducati has seen him calling his best pal in Australia and quite a few of his questions must have been answered by Casey making Spies thinking he indeed can ride well the Ducati.

Or the money offer is impressive. Or both.

Anyway, we will know on the evening of the Valencia tests in November how 2013 will fare out for Ducati. If any of the four rider is within 1/2 of second of the best time, it'll pan out good.

If not, let's roll another disastrious year like this one.

Moving from factory Yamaha to satellite Ducati can't in any way be a well thought out move. Its more indicative of second thoughts about leaving the GP paddock and taking one of the scraps remaining. If he really wanted to move to Ducati then months ago he would have been in negotiations with the factory team. A straight swap with Rossi would have been simple. I think he got totally fed up over his situation/lack of results, fired off a premature tweet, then had everybody in the paddock tell him to think about it as once you are gone you're not coming back. The initial tweet was effective in burning the Yamaha bridge so he shopped around and eventually will have to decide on a ride, any of which will be worse than his current ride.

Yes, if Ducati does a turnaround it could work out well but bettting your future GP career on a factory that has a track record of glacial pace of change is desparation, not careful planning.


If their gonna give him the kind of shitty support they have been?!? There's been enough mechanical failures on Ben's side of the garage to raise more than a few eyebrows this season. Broken subframe, broken swingarm, broken engine. These are completely inexcusable mechanical failures. Spies seems to have had more of these incidents in one season, then Lorenzo has had in HIS ENTIRE CAREER WTH YAMAHA.

If that's the kind of "factory support" that Ben Spies can expect from his current team, then I believe he knows exactly what he's doing in jumping ship. The satellite Ducati is more than fast enough, it just needs to handle. If Ducati really are gonna dole out equal equipment to both teams then whats the difference anyways?

At this point Ducati just wants to win no matter which team does it. Ben Spies seems to have made the most intelligent decision in my humble opinion, seeing as he will get basically the same bike as the factory team, without any of the pressure or media BS involved.

That's the definition of a "smart move".

I agree with you. I think Spies need to go on. This year was really to much. I think: Spies and Iannone are top combination for Duce. Something new and unpredictable. That is what Ducati needs. Hayden and Dovi are great riders but I dont think they can get something out of Ducati at this point. Spies and Iannone just might.

are a result of crashes and not properly assessing the damage. this is the pit crews responsibility not Yamaha. the results fall on the people in the garage and not at the corporate office.

One or two mistakes are part of the game. But so much of crap... sorry. Yamaha pushed Spies for his bad results... and pit crews?? It is still Yamaha factory team. And this year it is patetic showdown for Yamaha and Spies. It looks like Mercedes and Schumacher. Both driver/rider have bad results .. but machines are even worse.

Paul Birds unguarded interview at the Oulton BSB round was quite clear - Ellison was going to be replaced by Byrne at Le Mans and other races. In a subsequent interview Bird also said James place going forward was subject to his performance in ' next few races'.

Whilst Paul Bird has put a lot of money into BSB, WSB and now MotoGP, it must be said money isnt everything and he has left a trail of sacked riders in his wake, starting with Hislop, hopefully not ending this season with James Ellison.

Poor James has a history of picking what on the face of it are good rides, but underneath the skin leave a lot to be desired. This has been shown again by PBM (and ART) Got the bike late, no pre season testing, skimpy in season testing , zero support from the team owner, engine elecronics issues which where denied by the manufactuer, lower engine spec than the Aspar team and probably a host of other things that have'nt been made public....

"Poor James has a history of picking what on the face of it are good rides, but underneath the skin leave a lot to be desired."

A bit like Anthony West. Loads of talent but never managed to get onto the right bike.

I wonder is there any danger that the spec ECU for 2013 might increase the gap between the factory bikes and the CRT machines?

Strange enough, because is trying hard with the ducati. Any spanish CRT outfit? Aspar again? BQR?
Not that i care that much, to be honest...

Alright who isn't excited about 2013? Considering the likely rider lineups it has high potential to be an awesome season! I must admit with the retirement of Casey and unexpected hiccups with Ben Spies, 2013 was looking a little iffy, but now I think we have the potential for a good brawl. Yes brawl, and here's why....
Ducati, depending upon how you look at it either has egg on their face or a huge chip on their shoulder or both. I don't believe the delay in the 'junior' team is due to indecision on running a 'junior' team, I believe its due to impact. They have to do well next season and I firmly believe they'll have the bike for it and all four of those bikes are going to be equal spec. If you don't have the three Aliens then you get the next best thing. In my opinion Dovi, Hayden, Ben, and Crazyjoe or Redding are one helluva group. Announcing the 3rd and 4th factory spec riders together is an important statement for them to start off the post Rossi era. I believe its important to them to lay it all out completely instead of piecemeal. The big question is what if they do get the bike together with a rider line up like that? Will we see Yamaha and Honda go full spec on all of their bikes too? It sure seems like things are already heading in that direction.

Maybe you could call this all wishful thinking, but I sure hope from a race fans perspective that it happens so that we get the show we want. If Duc can get their riders in the midst of the Rossi/Lorenzo fight and the Honda Might Mouse duo then we're in for one helluva season :)

As big fan of Dani... I really like the name "Mighty Mouse Duo". Hahahaha. Epic!

For 2013, the war continues with ongoing battles between Honda and Yamaha... Who has the Best MotoGP bike/rider combo!? The rest of the grid will be also-ran material, so let's be honest about it. This season Honda had the upper-hand until Stoner got injured recently. Luckily DP26 has stepped-up to where he and Honda needs him to be, especially with MM93 coming next season. If Dani can snatch the #1 plate away from Jorge's fingertips this season, it will be a major upset and exactly what the sport (Dani) needs for next season! Bradl will get factory-spec machinery next season... he will be a larger problem next year which is great. I doubt that Johnny Rea will be able to move up to MotoGP and replace Redding or Alvaro @ Gresini next year. Rossi, Spies, Dovi, and Cal will battle amongst themselves in the 3rd group of the field before the rookies and the CRTs. Hayden will battle with Marquez and Bradl in the 2nd group. Which leaves Dani and Jorge in the 1st group... they can continue from wherever they leave off this season. The best gift to MotoGP would be if Stoner changed his mind and decided to race on anything in 2013. That would be the best MotoGP season of all time...

I agree that Dani and Jorge have big battle for next year. For someone who is BIG fan of Dani I love to see that game. But I would not count Rossi out of the top game. Do not underestimate him! He just eat his pride for a sake of winning. And he is hungry ass hell! I think Rossi will fight in the first group not the 3rd.

IF he did stay (and I take his word that he's leaving, since he doesn't like to BS) imagine the chaos it would cause. What about PED and MAQ? Both have contracts. Would HRC run 3 bikes? That would only leave 1 Honda prototype left for San Carlo Gresini (more money) and LCR (more history in motogp) to fight over.

Also, I don't agree that Honda had the upper hand before Stoner's injury. Lorenzo was leading the championship going into Indy anyways. But regardless, he's done. This is Dani's year, this is his best chance ever to grab that WC title. The rest of the season is gonna be a real nail biter!

Why is Pol Espargaro mentioned nowhere? The only guy who's consistently able to challenge Marquez? Does he have a contract for next year already or something?

I will not understand if Gresini go with Redding, a guy who has accomplished nothing compared to what Espargaro, Luthi and Marquez have done.

That was mostly due to an uncompetitive FTR chassic though. When they got some improvements he immediately stuck it on the podium at Indy.

somewere in a spanish site it said pol and his team wanted to become moto2 champion before moving up to motogp that it would provide good experience for the motogp challenge, so they were planning in at least another season if they didnt win this year... but when cal and dovi were leaving tech 3 he was considered a strong candidate for the seat next to bsmith (him or dePuniet) Moto2 next year? bets are on pol with marquez, ianonne and possibly redding gone its gonna be mainly a luthi-espargaro battle... hopefully moto2 will be just as exciting next year

I can't help but notice that when I watch the BBC/Eurosport broadcasts, Redding gets as many mentions as the leaders. Never underestimate the power of publicity.

There is swarm of Spanish top class riders in MotoGP. Lorenzo and Pedrosa in MotoGP, Marquez and Espargaro in Moto2, Vinales and Salom in Moto3.... . And with Stoner going out of the game, Rossi is the only alien left in MotoGP which is not from Spain. Do not get me wrong. I am fan of Dani Pedrosa. I have nothing against Spain. But if this trend continue we will soon have Spanish national racing.. in place of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3. We need people from other nations to get in. Italians are the one who my have the answer. Crazy Joe. I hope!

at Moto2, next year.
I don't think he wants to go to MotoGP at any price, and... without any decent rides left, "should i stay".
He's got a really nice bike, and if he stays competitive, 2013 could be his year.

I for one hope the Elbowz/Crazy Joe announcements are forthcomming.
Spies in particular was never comfortable as Yamaha #2 in the factory team. Expectations filling Rossi's boots and all. Never did fit.
I never did figure why a twin cylinder L-2 1200 was so nimble in SBK and an L-4 800/1000 is generally deemed unrideable.
I reckon Ducati have the right lineup for 2013 and beyond,presuming it's confirmed. A massive and diverse data platform to work with,rather than a singularly motivated and focused late brake,corner entry,block pass platform as the sole yardstick as to what constitutes a competitive GP package will not be missed by Ducati's engineering staff.

"With a spec ECU to be introduced for the CRT bikes in 2013, and a rev limit and spec ECU for all of MotoGP - CRT and prototype - in 2014, the CRT teams will have to grit their teeth for another year and target the hindmost of the satellite bikes."

David, can you please tell me, if I'm not mistaken, this decision has not been made, so why are you writing as if the decision is already made?

This is something I will be writing about soon. From what I understand, Carmelo Ezpeleta has decided to ignore the complaints of the factories, because change is needed fast. 2014 is the earliest it is practical to switch to the spec ECU. Honda are still putting up a fight, but Dorna will pull the trigger on this before next year. The last time Ezpeleta listened to a factory was to allow Suzuki to sign Alvaro Bautista, going against the Rookie Rule. They said they needed the change or they would have to leave. They left anyway, a couple of years later. Ezpeleta is now willing to let the factories leave, and calling their bluff.

Can Ezpeleta afford to lose Honda? Honda is all over Motogp, Moto2...

Or does he know that others are coming (BMW)... which made ​​their involvement conditional to spec ECU ?


I think he can not afford to lose Honda.

Perhaps you're right, maybe other manufacturers are coming with special requirements that would guarantee them some level of performance, but it is unlikely they would have invested so much in the series like Honda.

Thank you for reply David. I do not like the way Carmelo Ezpeleta is doing things. He acts like he's in the flea market. Honda is not Suzuki. I think Carmelo is only seeking an excuse to do things his way. It's a big question whether his way is a good way. I don't like it.

It's My belief that the Yamaha/Rossi courting started at the beginning of the year and Spies was told to look for another ride shortly there after. My guess is the run of bad luck has come from a team and rider that no longer had any stake in their results. I think Yamaha burned the bridge to Spies not vice-verse. I sure hope if he does end up with Ducati he can make it dance and not just pile on more disappointment.

Some guy named Kropotkin thinks that bluffing is a dangerous tactic. Dangerous for who? Certainly not dangerous for Honda, for them it only means less cost.

David, I have to say that for now Carmelo is going very well in his quest to save MotoGP. He has a couple of journalists who demonize manufacturers in every way and divert attention from the real problem.

Well TH should have that sorted in about 95 seconds then.
IMO Ben jumped after he had been pushed and if he wanted to stay in MGP then Duc was the main option as all other prime seats were effectively taken.

I feel for Ben but he still has (probably) one of the worlds top 30 m/c racing jobs.

He probably started talks with WSB etc as options but actually being in the top paddock is probably his best way back to a factory seat, and Ducaudi will have a lot more cash and resource than good old Suzi.