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Old 04-22-2013, 10:11 AM   #161
Big Girl's Blouse
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Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Dieren, The Low Low Lands of Holland
Oddometer: 7,326
Originally Posted by yooperbikemike View Post
From our shallow perspective of 2 races in, it's a good as time as any to look at 2014.

Bradl and Bautista have two year deals, Bradl directly with Honda and its possible that Bautista's is as well. However, what they will be riding in 2014 is a matter of conjecture. There are rumors that LCR will get 2 "factory" bikes next year, which would leave Gresini with the option of a Honda proddy RC or CRT. Bautista is basically a Showa development rider, so I'm betting they'll get a proddy machine. Or, both teams could get one of each.

Yamaha will have to do something to satisfy Crutchlow, most likely giving Tech 3 a Factory bike. However, the Japanese don't especially care for someone who airs dirty laundry in public, even when they are fast. Crutchlow also made no friends at Ducati last year when he allegedly booted the CEO out of his motorhome when told he wasn't going to be offered a contract. Smith, while not stinking up the joint yet, will have to step up his game to keep someone like one of the Espargaro brothers off that bike.

Dovisioso looks to be making something like silk out of the sow's ear GP12 13, and he has a deal for next year. Hayden, no matter how many units he moves in the US market, needs to start being competitive with his team mate to keep a seat. Again, one of the Espargaro brothers looks like a candidate. Much as I hate to say it, Ben Spies looks like he's just picking up a paycheck. Results, not excuses -- no matter how good they are, get a rider a contract extension.

The remaining factor for 2014 is hardware. With leased Yamaha engines, a proddy Honda and the possible re-entry of Suzuki, the back of the field will change dramatically. More competitive bikes will attract more competitive riders.
Smith is on a two-year deal at Tech 3, so he's safe. Poncharal denied outright to me that he is talking to Espargaro. "I will never, ever sign a contract with Pol Espargaro," he said. When I said what if Espargaro signed with Yamaha, and Yamaha put him in Tech 3, he went quiet.

I don't believe Crutchlow will stay at Tech 3, he'll either go to Ducati or he'll go to Suzuki.

I don't believe LCR could muster the cash to run 2 RC213Vs. I think the plan is more likely to be 1 RC213V and one proddy bike, maybe with a Japanese or Asian rider.

The biggest problem I see is US riders in the series. Hayden is on a slow, downward spiral; Spies, well, we need to see how much is injury, but last year, people close to him said his head just went, buckled under the pressure. He should have gone back to WSBK and cleaned up, rebuilt his confidence, but money kept him in MotoGP. And CEII? Well, he really needs to become a commentator. Would be great for the series.

Who would take their place? There are no young Americans coming through the ranks, and no feeder series to produce them, the way there is in other countries. There are talented American riders, but no one anywhere near a Grand Prix team.
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