Britain will have three riders on the grid in Moto2 next year after the news that Gino Rea will ride for Gresini Racing in 2012. The Londoner tested for the Italian team in November and will make his debut in the intermediate class after being named on the FIM entry list today.
While Rea gets to grips with Grand Prix racing, Bradley Smith and Scott Redding will have their eyes on the top step of the podium. Redding's Marc VDS team have swapped the Suter chassis for the Kalex which won the championship last year and the 19 year old will hope it leads to an upturn in fortunes after a tough season in 2011.
Meanwhile, Smith impressed in his rookie year which included a superb mid-season run of three consecutive podium finishes. His place on the 2013 MotoGP grid is already secured but this year, the Oxford youngster stays with Tech 3's Moto2 squad and will look to start winning races.
Looking at the entry list, Marc Marquez has to go down as favourite given Stefan Bradl's graduation to MotoGP. The Spaniard has the powerful support of Monlau Competicion and Suter and will be the man to beat, assuming he's fully fit.
His greatest threat may also come from a Suter rider with 2010 champion Toni Elias making his return to the series with Aspar. Despite a nightmare year in the premier class, the 28 year old is a proven force at this level. The same can be said for Andrea Iannone and Alex De Angelis, who were third and fourth last year, but both have changed bikes for 2012. The Italian has reverted back to FTR after a year with Suter while De Angelis has gone the other way, joining the Suter-backed Forward Racing team after riding the Motobi last year.
As ever, the Moto2 grid is spiced up by newcomers from the 125cc class and many will be watching reigning champion Nicolas Terol who joins Elias at Aspar. Johann Zarco, his title rival from 2011, maybe a thorn in his side again after taking up the vacant seat at JIR. His teammate will be Eric Granado but not immediately as the Brazilian is still five months short of the minimum age of 16 and will not be allowed to race until Silverstone.
Another name that stands out from the 32-rider field is Elena Rosell who will get a full season after couple of wildcard appearances last year. She will partner Ricard Cardus at the QMMF Racing Team.
Moto2 2012 – Provisional Entry List
|3||Simone Corsi||FTR||Ioda Racing Project|
|4||Randy Krummenacher||Suter||GP Team Switzerland|
|5||Johann Zarco||Motobi||JIR Moto2|
|7||Alexander Lundh||MZ-RE Honda||MZ Racing Team|
|8||Gino Rea||Moriwaki||Gresini Racing Moto2|
|9||Kenny Noyes||TBA||ArguiÃ±ano Racing Team|
|12||Thomas Luthi||Suter||Interwetten-Paddock Moto2|
|14||Ratthapark Wilairot||Moriwaki||Gresini Racing Moto2|
|15||Alex De Angelis||Suter||Forward Racing|
|18||Nicolas Terol||Suter||Aspar Team Moto2|
|19||Xavier Simeon||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing|
|24||Toni Elias||Suter||Aspar Team Moto2|
|29||Andrea Iannone||FTR||Speed Master|
|30||Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team|
|36||Mika Kallio||Kalex||Marc VDS Racing Team|
|38||Bradley Smith||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing|
|40||Pol Espargaro||Pons Kalex||Pons Racing|
|45||Scott Redding||Kalex||Marc VDS Racing Team|
|47||Angel Rodriguez||FTR||SAG Team|
|49||Axel Pons||Pons Kalex||Pons Racing|
|57||Eric Granado||Motobi||JIR Moto2|
|60||Julian Simon||FTR||Avintia Racing|
|63||Mike Di Meglio||FTR||Speed Up|
|71||Claudio Corti||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team|
|72||Yuki Takahashi||Suter||Forward Racing|
|73||Max Neukirchner||Kalex||Kiefer Racing|
|80||Esteve Rabat||Pons Kalex||Pons Racing|
|82||Elena Rosell||Moriwaki||QMMF Racing Team|
|88||Ricard Cardus||Moriwaki||QMMF Racing Team|
|93||Marc Marquez||Suter||Monlau Competicion|