Whilst there has been plenty of action on track for the first half of the 2016 MotoGP season, there has been plenty off track as riders’ contracts have come drawn to an end and both riders and manufacturers have been keen to snap up the best deal.
A lot of movement in the paddock
It started with Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi who quickly extended his contract with his team for two more years. It was his current teammate Jorge Lorenzo who caused a whole lot of movement in the paddock when he announced he would be making the move to the factory Ducati Team.
Factory teams keen to fill their seats
Lorenzo’s move meant that several other riders switched teams as a result. Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) has to leave to make room for the 2015 MotoGP Champion. The Italian will take the place of Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) at Suzuki as he decided to make the move to Movistar Yamaha to join Rossi and replace Lorenzo.
Factory seats were soon all quickly taken up and it has left us wondering what will happen to the riders who are currently racing with the MotoGP teams.
Aprilia team decided for 2017
In the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini camp, the factory seats have been snapped up. Moto2 rider Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) had already confirmed that he would be moving up to the MotoGP ad taking one of the seats next season; what will be the second season competing in the top class for the team and manufacturer.
Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) recently claimed the second seat with the manufacturer. Recently he announced his concern that Suzuki had not ‘consulted’ him when they decided to sign up Iannone. He was very vocal when expressing his views on how his team treated him.
Avintia Ducati in talks with Bradl
The Spaniard taking the second seat means that current riders Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl now have to look elsewhere. Bradl recently revealed that he had been approached by Avintia Ducati.
Loris Baz and Hector Barbera currently ride for the team and Barbera recently declared the need for newer machinery as he felt they had done all they could do with the Desmosedici GP 14.2; they are beating the times that the factory team riders achieved two years ago when the Ducati was the latest machinery and hopes they will be provided with a newer version to make them even more competitive in the championship.
Being this outspoken might have spoiled Barbera’s chances of remaining in the MotoGP with the team. But then Bradl has revealed that he will not be continuing talks with the MotoGP team.
Bradl coming to the end of the road in MotoGP
The German rider declared: “Next year I will not be in grand prix racing.” Revealing he has been in talks with the Ducati team he spoke of how he “greatly appreciates the efforts made by Avintia.” As talks have continued he said they have, “constantly improved their offer” however he will not be signing with them as “some details at Avintia did not fit” and so there “has been no agreement.”
Possible move to World Superbike?
As he is not set to be signing with Avintia and confirming he will not be in the MotoGP, it is highly likely that the German rider will be expected to switch to the World Superbike championship instead (Honda are rumoured to be interested in him).
Bradl currently sits fifteenth in the MotoGP championship in which he has so far gained 37 points; not bad for the manufacturers first season in the MotoGP.