Forward Yamaha has held its MotoGP and Moto2 team launch in Milan where Athina Eyewear was confirmed as its new title sponsor.

Forward, which previously received title backing from NGM, won last year's inaugural Open MotoGP class with Alex Espargaro.

The team will field an all-new line-up of Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz in the premier-class this season, with Simone Corsi and Lorenzo Baldassarri racing Kalex machinery in Moto2. Athina is owned by AF Invest Group.

"I am proud and happy to present Athin? Eyewear which, together with AF Invest, will be the new title sponsor of our MotoGP and Moto2 team," said Forward chairman Giovanni Cuzari. "Athin? Eyewear is a very ambitious Swiss start-up, which, together with AF Invest, has decided to give itself visibility through the World Championship with a very important project consisting of a three-year sponsorship.

"New challenges await us together with our new partners, but I cannot forget who allowed us to get there by supporting the team during the last three years. I'm referring to Mr. Stefano Nesi of NGM Smartphone. Thank-you very much for the past support and trust and thank-you for the backing that you are still providing us for the future.

"We shared our ambitions and together we have achieved important goals. We are and we will stay ambitious, in MotoGP our goal is to win the Open class title again with Stefan and Loris, while In Moto2 we are lining-up two Italian riders to compete with the world bests, convinced that with this working group we can aim even higher".

Former Moto2 champion Bradl, joining the team from LCR Honda,stated: "I am very pleased to have joined the Forward family and I am excited about this new adventure. For me the goal is to achieve the Open title. The team is all new for me but I think I can adapt well to the bike, the last test in Malaysia have shown that we have a good pace and now we have to improve the flying lap time. I look forward to the start racing again in Qatar".

Rookie team-mate Baz arrives in MotoGP from World Superbike.

"Considering that I come from the Superbike I must say that the first impact with the MotoGP was positive, at first it was a little hard to find the position on the bike but I have been training a lot to prepare for this new challenge," said the Frenchman. "I cannot wait to reach Qatar and to go back on the track for the first race and fight with the world top riders. A big thank you to the team for giving me this wonderful opportunity".

Bradl was 15th and the second best Open class rider behind Avintia Ducati's Hector Barbera during the second pre-season test at Sepang, where Baz was 24th out of the 27 riders. A third and final test takes place in Qatar this weekend.


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