With Cal Crutchlow’s signing out of the way, a few more pieces of MotoGP’s 2014 puzzle are starting to fall into place. The next domino to fall was Stefan Bradl, the German having his contract at LCR Honda extended for the 2014 season as expected. Bradl wil now stay with the team for another season as a factory-supported rider, with direct backing from HRC.
The extension had been a long time coming. HRC held the option to extend Bradl’s contract, but gave serious consideration to placing Cal Crutchlow in the LCR team. Once Crutchlow decided to go to Ducati, any doubt over Bradl’s future was removed.
The news came as a great relief to Lucio Cecchinello, who has been a strong supporter of Bradl, the German having been a very good fit with the LCR team, and having shown himself capable of running close to the front. HRC and LCR’s faith in Bradl was finally rewarded at Laguna Seca, where the German scored his first ever podium in MotoGP.
Bradl’s confirmation means that all but one of the prototype rides has now been taken, with only the second satellite Ducati left open. Andrea Iannone looks almost certain to keep his seat at Pramac for next year. Any further changes will only take place among the CRT teams, or as they will be known from 2014, the non-MSMA entries.
Scott Redding is believed to be close to a deal with the Gresini Honda team to ride a Honda production racer, but any agreement will likely wait until the young Briton’s home Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The biggest question for many MotoGP fans is what will become of Nicky Hayden, with the popular American being linked to a number of rides. Ducati would like to see Hayden go to World Superbikes and campaign the Panigale, as well as help with its development.
They face serious competition from American Honda, however, the US importer keen to bring Hayden back into the fold. That backing would see Hayden on one of two options, either at the Pata Honda team in World Superbikes, or else on a production racer in MotoGP. Hayden is also believed to be in the frame for one of the Yamaha M1s to be raced by the NGM Forward team next season.
Photo: © 2013 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.