Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 13 Jun 2014
Typically, a seat in MotoGP is hard to come by and while 2015 will be no exception to this rule, there may be a number of rides available. Even though more seats may be on offer, the amount of riders looking to secure them has also increased.
The one thing harder than getting a ride in MotoGP is getting a factory ride in MotoGP – with the two main factories, Honda and Yamaha happy with their top four riders, it is rare a factory seat becomes available. If a rider is to have any chance of fulfilling their dream of winning the MotoGP World title, they need to be in a factory team. That’s why we’ve seen the likes of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow ditch competitive satellite machinery in favour of the as of yet uncompetitive Ducati.
For the first time since 2011, there will be four factories in MotoGP next year as Suzuki return to the grid with a two-man team. Despite the GSVR being largely unproven, only just able to match the Open specification machines’ times from testing – Suzuki has a barrage of riders knocking at their door for a ride.
It is rumoured the Japanese factory were keen to tempt Dani Pedrosa from the HRC fold, the Spaniard having been unable to beat Marquez so far this season. The idea here is the simple philosophy that no bike is able win without a top rider aboard it; Pedrosa is one of the top four riders in MotoGP. With Honda keen to keep him, it’s no surprise that Pedrosa isn’t one of the riders knocking down Davide Brivio’s [Suzuki Team Manager] door, or at least he isn’t unless there’s a healthy offering of at least €8 million on the table according to various sources.
It would be safe to assume Suzuki won’t be getting hold of Pedrosa and will instead have to settle for a rider who actually wants to ride for them. Luckily, there is no shortage of those.
The hottest rumours in the paddock cite interest in the Suzuki ride from both of Ducati’s current factory riders. Unhappy with the lack of progress made in his two years with the team, Andrea Dovizioso is tipped to be interested in a move from ‘red’ to ‘blue’ for 2015. Dovizioso’s Ducati team mate, Cal Crutchlow is also alleged to be interested in a switch to Suzuki. The Brit has a two-year contract with Ducati but it is thought that there is a get-out-clause should the Isle of Man-based rider choose to use it.
Both Dovizioso and Crutchlow have proven themselves as podium contenders in MotoGP and Suzuki would make strong lead riders. However, 2015 is tipped to be a big year for Ducati, with the Desmosedici GP15 set to be the first bike based around the ideas of technical guru Gigi Dall’Igna.
After impressing on the Aprilia ART CRT machine in the last two years, Alex Espargaro was tipped for big success on the NGM Forward Yamaha with ‘Open class’ concessions this season. After showing incredible form in pre-season testing, Espargaro cracked under pressure a little as the season got started but has since bagged a couple of top five finishes to prove his worth. Espargaro has said he’s looking to consistently fight within the top six to ensure his progression from the open class for 2015. Clearly a talented rider, as with the Ducati pairing, Suzuki could do much worse.
Alvaro Bautista is supposedly set to be without a ride come 2015 after some poor showings on the Gresini Honda so far this year (with the exception of a podium in Le Mans. Bautista was Suzuki’s last factory rider in 2011 and impressed aboard the machine so it’s possible a return could be on the cards.
There are also riders outside MotoGP keen to get on the machine, Eugene Laverty tested for the Suzuki team at Phillip Island the other week and despite a crash, enjoyed a positive test. The Ulsterman told Bike Social the option of a MotoGP ride crossed his mind when signing for Suzuki in the World Superbike series, but has failed to make much of an impression on the GSXR1000 so far.
Let’s not forget the team’s current test rider, Randy de Puniet, who quit riding in MotoGP full time to develop the bike for Suzuki, who have insisted there is provision to give the Frenchman a spot in the team for 2015, but could the prospect of two fast riders come before loyalty?
Suzuki aren’t short for choice in deciding who will pilot their two machines for 2014 and with a list that long, it’s almost impossible to second guess who the manufacturer will go for. Let’s wait and see!
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