MotoGP grid expands to 21 bikes for 2013 Grid numbers in MotoGP will be at a four year high in 2012 after the FIM’s provisional entry list revealed 21 riders for the upcoming season. Not since 2007 have this many riders entered the opening race and the boost in competitors is largely down to the introduction of Claiming Rules Teams.
Nine of the bikes will be running to CRT regulations, with a number of teams entering the premier class for the first time. BQR, running under the Avintia Racing banner, will have two FTR-Kawasakis for Ivan Silva and Moto2 graduate Yonny Hernandez while Ioda Racing Project will run Danilo Petrucci with their own chassis powered by an Aprilia RSV4 engine. Speed Master, another outfit with a proven track record in the support series, will also have Aprilia power supporting Anthony West. Moto2 squad Forward Racing were one of the first to announce a CRT plan and will have the best possible rider for the new adventure in the ultra-experienced Colin Edwards.
The CRT project has also given British fans an extra name to cheer with Paul Bird Motorsport joining the Grand Prix fraternity. Their rider is no stranger to the paddock although James Ellison will have his work cut out after five years away.
Existing teams have also gone the CRT route with Aspar joining forces with Aprilia to provide two bikes for Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro while Gresini will field Michele Pirro on an FTR-Honda.
Gresini will also have a 1000cc challenger with Alvaro Bautista entrusted with the Honda RC213V originally assigned to Marco Simoncelli prior to his tragic death but the title fight looks set to be between the big three manufacturers and their works outfits.
The entry list confirmed that Casey Stoner will wear the number one plate on his Repsol Honda and will just have one teammate this time in Dani Pedrosa. Yamaha retain Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies while the under-pressure Ducati team will be expected to provide Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden with better machinery this time.
The satellite teams see some rider changes with Andrea Dovizioso joining Cal Crutchlow at Tech 3 Yamaha, Hector Barbera staying on a Ducati although this time in Pramac colors, and Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl replacing his predecessor at LCR Honda. Karel Abraham completes the line-up on the fourth GP12 Ducati.
The season starts in Qatar at the Losail International Circuit on April 8th.
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