The 2015 MotoGP grid is shaping up to look even stronger than this season. There are increasing signs that the weaker teams on the grid are set to disappear, with the strongest teams in Moto2 moving up to take their place. In addition, there is a chance that some of the stronger existing MotoGP teams could expand their participation as well.
It is an open secret that the Marc VDS Racing team is weighing up a switch to MotoGP. Team boss Michael Bartholemy has had initial talks with the team owner Marc van der Straten about adding a MotoGP entry to their line up, but they are still a long way from making a decision.
Bartholemy told us that a decision on their participation would come at Assen at the earliest, but admitted that it was still a very serious option.
The end of June would be too late for Kalex to get a chassis ready in time for 2015 to accept a leased Yamaha engine, but Bartholemy explained that that need not be a problem. Kalex have got permission from Yamaha to start work on a frame already, and have the specifications they need to get started, Bartholemy said.
That did not necessarily mean that Marc VDS will be running a Kalex Yamaha if they do decide to make the switch. “We will look to see which manufacturer offers us the best package,” Bartholemy said.
Marc VDS is likely to receive some help from the factories, due to the clear strength of the team. “If you were a factory, which Moto2 team would you choose to help?” The Marc VDS boss asked rhetorically.
The LCR Honda team is also considering expansion, to run a two-bike team along the lines of Gresini Honda, with one factory RC213V and one RCV1000R production racer.
Lucio Cecchinello confirmed that he was close to signing a new sponsorship deal for 2015, which should bring in enough cash to add a second bike. But Cecchinello was cautious, saying his plans were far from fixed for next year. “It’s too early to say about next year,” Cecchinello said. “At Assen, we will know more.”
The problem for both Cecchinello and Marc VDS is that the production Honda may not be an option. Asked whether there were any plans to expand Honda’s current line up of four RCV1000R’s, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto said there was not. “We have two-year contracts with the teams. Next year, we will supply the same teams,” he told us.
Honda’s reluctance to supply more bikes came down simply to cost. “The production racer is very expensive, similar cost to satellite bike,” Nakamoto said. HRC are shouldering the difference, to acquiesce with Dorna’s demands to supply cheaper bikes. Honda would only be willing to supply more production racers if the new teams were willing to bear the full cost.
For 2015, that may not be such a bad deal. Honda will be bringing performance upgrades for the RCV1000R, rumored to involve the addition of pneumatic valves. Nakamoto confirmed that the bikes would have more horsepower and acceleration, but refused to be drawn on exactly how that extra power would be produced. “Next year, more power,” was all that he would reveal.
Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.