2012 MotoGP Prep
Next week, the 2012 MotoGP season official gets underway with the first testing period that will run three days from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Sepang.
This year, the pre-season testing periods will be of utmost imporance to teams as they depart the 800cc era and prepare for the 1000cc era of prototypes.
For 2012, there will be 12 factory riders on the track, joined by nine CRT (Claiming Rules Team) pilots. Following is the test schedule, along with a brief team preview from MotoGP.
2012 MotoGP Pre-Season Testing Schedule:
- Sepang 1 MotoGP, Jan. 31 through Feb. 2
- Valencia Moto2/Moto3, Feb. 8 through Feb. 10
- Jerez 1 Moto2/Moto3, Feb. 16 through Feb. 18
- Sepang 2 MotoGP, February 28 through March 1
- Jerez 2 Moto2/Moto3, March 19 through March 21
- Jerez MotoGP, March 23 through March 25
Following is from a press release from MotoGP:
The key factory teams will see their riders’ line-up unchanged, with Casey Stoner set to defend his World Title alongside Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa; the Yamaha Factory team will again be represented by Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, while Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will be hard at work with the Ducati team in order to push the Italian outfit at the front of the MotoGP pack.
The off-season saw some major migrations including that of Andrea Dovizioso, who will make his debut on a Yamaha with Tech3 alongside Cal Crutchlow, and Alvaro Bautista, who will spearhead the Honda Gresini team effort. Hector Barbera will now be the sole rider of the Pramac Racing Team while Karel Abraham will continue his career with Cardion AB Racing Team.
Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet joined the ranks of Forward Racing and Aspar Team respectively, for which they will ride the new CRT-spec machines. With the new CRT entries, a total of 21 riders will form the MotoGP grid this year, giving newcomers such as Danilo Petrucci, Ivan Silva, Michele Pirro and Yonny Hernandez a chance to shine in the premier class, and also a path back into MotoGP for the likes of Anthony West, Aleix Espargaro and James Ellison.
Another noteworthy entry is 2011 Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl, who will join the LCR Honda team as he graduates into the MotoGP class.
The next two months will also have riders from the lower classes getting into gear as the Valencia and Jerez circuits will host testing sessions for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.
The Moto2 class promises to be as entertaining and unpredictable as ever, with favourites such as Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding facing 125 World Champion Nico Terol and his runner-up Johann Zarco, in addition to the inaugural Moto2 World Champion, Toni Elias, who is set to make his return to the category that saw him take the crown in 2010.
Pre-season testing will be particularly important for the Moto3 class contestants as the new 4-stroke 250cc bikes replace the old 2-stroke 125cc motorcycles. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Maverick Viñales, Sandro Cortese and Hector Faubel will fare on the brand new machinery.