9 November 2013
Valencia MotoGP: Espargaro, Edwards confirmed at Forward Yamaha
Forward announces Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards on open class Yamahas in MotoGP, Simone Corsi and Mattia Pasini with FTR machinery in Moto2.
Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards have been officially announced at Forward Racing for the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, riding the new privateer Yamaha M1.
The Spaniard has dominated the privateer CRT class for Aspar Aprilia since the inaugural 2012 season and, by heading this year's standings, had a clause to remain with Aspar next season.
But Aleix, whose younger brother Pol will join MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha next year, wanted a change of machinery and duly negotiated a release - after which Aspar ironically switched to Honda.
Espargaro unofficially confirmed the long-rumoured Forward move last time out in Japan.
“After two years with a CRT bike, which have been very good for me, I think the time has come for me to make a change,” said Espargaro. “Forward Racing approached me with an offer, a very exciting and ambitious project involving Yamaha and FTR. I believe it can be a competitive bike and the project itself with the team is something that I am excited about. I look forward to riding the bike, test, work hard and see how far we can go with it.”
Espargaro has more than double the points of the next best CRT rider in this year's championship, Edwards, retained to partner Espargaro next season.
The Texan, 40 next February, was the most high profile rider to join the new CRT class - with twelve MotoGP podiums for Honda and Yamaha. The double World Superbike champion has raced a Suter-BMW, then FTR-Kawasaki at Forward and can't wait to get his hands on the Yamaha.
“I am really excited for next year,” said Edwards. “The majority of my racing carrier has been with Yamaha, from the motocross days through road racing, so I am really excited to get back with Yamaha and obviously to enter into this new project with Forward and FTR. Theoretically on paper it looks like we can compete and right now, as soon as we are done with the season we need to get to work and that's what I do best so I am really looking forward to it.”
Espargaro and Edwards will make their debut on the new bike in next week's post-race test.
The Forward Yamaha package, originally labelled as just an engine supply, will now include the engine, frame and swing-arm, with FTR supplying the remaining components. Unlike the factory Yamahas, at the official team and Tech 3, the Forward bikes will run the full control ECU system - hardware and software - allowing four extra litres of race fuel and twelve rather than five engines changes.
However Yamaha has indicated that only five engine changes, comprising three new engines and two rebuilds, are planned.
"The specs of the [lease] engines will be very close to those of the Tech 3 Team,” William Favero, communications manager of Yamaha Motor Racing, told Crash.net earlier this year. "Yamaha foresees the supply of three engines - two of which will be reconditioned to effectively reach five engines per season.”
In Moto2, Forward will switch from Speed Up back to FTR next year - marking the British company's full time return to the class - but scale down from four to two riders, retaining Simone Corsi and Mattia Pasini.
There will thus be no place for Edwards' 2013 team-mate Claudio Corti, or current Moto2 riders Alex de Angelis and Ricky Cardus.
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