The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix has already been good for Stefan Bradl before he’s even turned a tyre in an official session.
He already has an eye-catching, Red Bull sponsor themed new paint job for the weekend – but that’s small-fry after officially signing to ride for LCR for the 2014 season.
The German former Moto2 champion, who achieved his best performance to date with his first podium (finishing 2nd) from his maiden pole in Laguna Seca had previously also briefly lead his home race at the Sachsenring last month, and now returns from the summer break with a lot to celebrate.
LCR’s statement, released on Thursday said:
“LCR Honda Team is pleased to announce that Stefan Bradl has confirmed the agreement with Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) to line up as a Honda “factory supported” rider competing for the LCR Team in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.”
Bradl Himself went on to add:
“HRC’s support was extremely important for me in my first season in the premier class and, with their direct cooperation, I achieved my first podium in the top class this year,” Bradl comments. “I am happy to continue with Lucio’s Team because we know each other very well now and we have built a professional and friendly atmosphere in the team which allows me to be at 100% every race.”
Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello remains happy to have Bradl on board and reflected on the recent podium, an achievement for not just Bradl, but the whole LCR outfit:
“Being a part of HRC’s program and continuing our sport project with Stefan through to 2014 make us very happy and very proud. Stefan has amazed everybody at his debut in 2012 and is now showing his progress in the MotoGP class. His first MotoGP podium was a great result for him and for the whole Team so, from our side, we will do our best to support Stefan in 2014.”
Yet for the rumour mill it is another door slammed shut.
With 2014 rides in short supply and a lot of speculation remaining someone will have to miss out.
As it stands:
Factory Yamaha – Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo remain under contract until 2014
Repsol Honda – Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez remain under contract until 2014
Ducati Team – Andrea Dovizioso is under contract until 2014. He is Joined by Cal Crutchlow with a contract up to the 2015 season.
Tech3 Yamaha – Bradley Smith and the incoming Pol Espargaro under contract until 2014, though Espargaro is contracted to Yamaha up to 2015.
LCRHonda – Stefan Bradl has a new contract for the 2014 season
Gresini Honda – Alvaro Baurista is contracted to the end of the 2014 season
Pramac Ducati – Ben Spies is under contract for the 2014 season
The CRT seats are a little more open ended with little definite to go on yet.
There is strong rumour that Gresini at least will have a second bike , this time thought to be a production racer which is hotly rumored to be filled by Brit Moto2 leader Scott Redding. He confirmed at the recent BT Sport launch that he will definitely be making the move up to the top tier of MotoGP racing, but did not reveal with which team he has made the move.
The other main satellite machine yet to be confirmed is Andrea Iannone’s Pramac seat, though he is expected to renew shortly.
With the injection of Honda machinery and Yamaha engines the world of CRT is morphing away from where it currently stands, Forward Racing have already announced they will be using Yamaha power in the hope of becoming more competitive.
Nicky Hayden’s seat at Ducati was quickly filled by Crutchlow, with the American having made no announcement as of yet of what his future holds.
So, for the meantime, ‘silly season’ continues…