The 2012 MotoGP grid continues to grow, the latest team, Aspar, joining as a CRT (Claiming Rules Team).
The Aspar team, which will run Aprilia-powered CRT prototypes, will field two riders – former Pramac Racing Ducati rider Randy de Puniet, and former Moto2 rider Aleix Espargaro.
De Puniet had his debut on the Aspar Aprilia CRT at the recent private MotoGP testing in Jerez, the Frenchman getting in two days aboard the new bike. De Puniet said the testing gave him the “opportunity to realize the enormous potential of the new concept of CRT.”
The Valencia-based Aspar is no stranger to the Italian Aprilia manufacturer. Both have been linked since 1996, and have won four titles in the smaller GP categories.
Each “CRT” is a privateer entry that will be allowed to have certain flexibility in fuel-tank capacity and engines, making them competitive to run with the other prototypes; all MotoGP motorcycles will have a capacity of 1000cc.
The CRTs were added to boost grid numbers in 2012 MotoGP. So far there are four official CRT entries – Speed Master (Aprilia), Gresini/FTR (Honda) and Forward Racing (BMW) with Colin Edwards and Aspar (Aprilia).
Jorge “Aspar” Martínez says: “We are convinced that this challenge will be very successful, both with the riders and the engines, which will be supplied by Aprilia. We wanted to work with the brand in this new project because of our good working relationship and for their proven capabilities in smaller categories. Our goal this year is to be the best CRT and prepare to go a step further in 2013.”
Randy De Puniet (Aspar Aprilia CRT MotoGP) says: “I am delighted to return to the Aspar Team, a team I raced with in 2005 in 250cc. I have very fond memories of that time. Together we will embark on a new challenge, CRT. I realize that this team is very competitive and will fight for the best material, in fact I have been able to train with them and the conclusions have been optimal.
“CRT is the future of MotoGP and I think there will be a lot of work ahead, but a very rewarding work. The goal for the next season will be to adapt as quickly as possible to the prototype, and gradually catch the front runners.”
“Training in Jerez was productive and I was able to get a lot of information about the bike. It’s clear that we are still far from what the final motorcycle will be, but I’m very happy with how everything has happened. The test in Jerez gave me the opportunity to realize the enormous potential of the new concept of CRT,and I am proud to be one of the pioneering riders in this new category.”
Aleix Espargaro (Aspar Aprilia CRT MotoGP) says: “First of all, I am very excited to be on the Aspar Team, and returning to MotoGP is a big motivation for me. 2010 was quite positive for me and I would have liked to stay another year. I think for my weight and my height I can adapt well to the category and the bike.”
“I am convinced that the year will go very well and I’ll get great results for the Aspar Team. CRT is a completely new class, and we will initially have a lot of work, but I have chosen the Aspar Team is because I know it is a team that will face the new category very seriously. They are very professional and certainly developed a great bike. I am delighted with this new project.”