2015 MotoGP Grid LineupWhen the 2014 MotoGP season finale concluded last weekend at Valencia, the traditional post-season test took place at the same Spanish circuit.
During that test, the face of 2015 MotoGP emerged, which includes many newbies – though some are seasoned GP riders. These riders include Maverick Vinales, Jack Miller, Loris Baz, Eugene Laverty, Marco Melandri and Alex de Angelis.The 19-year-old Vinales – the 2013 Moto3 Champion and 2014 Moto2 Rookie of the Year – has garnered a total of 16 GP wins throughout all classes. The Spaniard was recruited to the Suzuki MotoGP Team, and will compete on the all-new GSX-RR next to the top Open-class rider of 2014 MotoGP, Aleix Espargaro.Vinales will have much guidance throughout 2015 MotoGP from his teammate and team manager Davide Brivio – who was once Valentino Rossi’s manager.The other youngster to join the premier-class grid is the Australian Jack Miller. He won six races in 2014 Moto3, just missing the title to Alex Marquez – the younger brother of two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez.Miller – a usual crowd favorite – will compete on the CWM LCR Honda Team on an open-class RC213V. He will ride under the guidance of Lucio Cecchinello, who helped Casey Stoner make it to the top.From France arrives Loris Baz, who competed alongside 2013 World SBK Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in the 2014 SBK series. The 21-year-old Baz won a few races, and will compete on the NGM Forward Racing Team (Yamaha) next to the German Stefan Bradl.Another transplant from World Superbike is the 28-year-old Eugene Laverty. The Northern Irishman joins Nicky Hayden on the Drive M7 Aspar (Honda) team. Laverty has won races in the World Superbike and Supersport series, and also competed in the former 125cc and 250cc classes in GP.The experienced Marco Melandri departs with the Aprilia Racing Team in World Superbike to join the new Factory Aprilia Gresini team in 2015 MotoGP. The former 250cc Champion spent eight years in GP, racing in the premier class from 2003 – 2010. During that team, the 32-year old Italian won five races.In 2014 World Superbike, Melandri races alongside this year’s champion, Sylvain Guintoli. Melandri won six races in 2014 aboard Aprilia RSV4 machinery.As for the Spaniard Alex de Angelis, he spent the periods in both the Moto2 and MotoGP classes. In 2015, he continues with the Octo Iodaracing Team.The MotoGP grid returns to action at Sepang February 4-7 for the first official test of 2015.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.