Dorna Sports, commercial rights holder for MotoGP, WSBK, CEV and co-organiser of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, has announced a new feeder series for up and coming riders: The Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup.
With the motorcycle culture developing rapidly in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, India, The Philippines and China, alongside Japan's already rich and historic involvement in the sport, this project aims to give riders from the Asian region a strong stepping stone into on-track racing.
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta commented: “The Asian market in terms of motorcycle racing is an exciting prospect for growth. Establishing the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup with the help of our partners will help find yet further talent from the region, and make this fantastic sport even more accessible to future racers. And with the assistance of Alberto Puig, who has a proven eye for talented riders, this project is sure to be a great success.”
HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto added: “Honda Racing Corporation is very proud to be Dorna's Partner in the Shell Advance Asian Talent Cup. Our Honda NSF250R has been created to be the first GP bike for young riders, to allow them to learn the secret of GPs on a reliable race bike. This new Cup is a very interesting project to discover new talent in Asia, and open the door of the World Championship to them.”
As one of the main-players in motorcycle racing in the region, the Sepang International Circuit - home of the Malaysian MotoGP - will be the official headquarters of the Asia Talent Cup, which will be led in-part by renowned talent scout Alberto Puig.
Puig, responsible for such talents as Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, along with Dorna's experience in feeder series such as the Rookies Cup and the MotoGP Academy, will work in partnership with Honda, Shell Advance and SIC to find Asia's stars of the future with a six-race series in 2014 during which 22 riders between the age of 14 and 20 will be able to participate.
Those taking part in those races, on spec Honda NSR250R Moto3 machines, will be decided the day after this year's Malaysian MotoGP. Applications can be made using the online platforms that will be developed in the following month.
The 22 most talented will then race in Qatar, Indonesia (Sentul), China, Japan (Motegi), Malaysia, as well as in India (Buddh Circuit) – either alone, or alongside MotoGP or SBK. Those with particular talent may have the opportunity to enter the Rookies Cup or the CEV Repsol.
Dorna will support the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup through different media coverage, such as a 40” review of the races held during a MotoGP weekend, whilst all other races will be covered by an individual highlights review to be distributed to MotoGP broadcasters in the Asian Region including Fox Sports Asia, Guangdong TV, Trans 7, Ten Sports, Channel 9 and Al Jazeera Sports.