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Aug 15, 2013

Bradl To Stay With LCR Honda MotoGP Team In 2014

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Riders (from left): Stefan Bradl, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies. Photo courtesy of Dorna/
Crutchlow steals the show as Marquez continues quest in Indianapolis

The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix got underway today as a star-studded press conference saw proceedings kick-off at the infamous Brickyard. Repsol Honda Team’s championship leading rookie Marc Marquez was joined by teammate Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha Factory Racing duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, as well as Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies, who makes his long-awaited return from injury.

Crutchlow, whose switch to the Ducati Team for 2014 was announced during the summer break, was the centre of attention for the gathered press. He commented: “After Laguna we decided that we were going to stay in America and take a break here, but it wasn’t too much of a break. We had a busy first week and then we obviously released that I’ll be riding for Ducati next year. Really pleased and it was nice to get that done, we can settle for the rest of the year now and see how that goes. Yes there are pros and cons for everything. The most difficult thing was making the phone call to Herve. It was quite an emotional phone call. It was a difficult decision to make but I am pleased to secure my future.”

When pushed by the floor as to why he switched to a bike that has proven difficult in the last few years, the Brit joked: “I like the colour!”

Championship leader Marquez’s focus is solely on continuing along the same level as he has in his first part of the year: “Now we start the second half and we have recharged our batteries over the summer. We are back; step-by-step we will recover the feeling with the bike and try to keep up the same level. It will be difficult and interesting because Dani and Jorge have recovered. It’s one of the tracks I seem to ride quite well so I hope to do the same with the MotoGP bike.”

Pedrosa, who broke a collarbone in a crash in Germany, is on his way to recovery: “I have been doing some recovery these days. Basically it was all about not moving a lot and staying quiet. The healing process is getting better and over these last days we have seen some signs of the bones recovering so that is good. Now I’m just waiting to go out, checking how everything is on the bike.”

Lorenzo, also healing from his broken collarbone, had his holiday interrupted by a Yamaha test in Brno on the seemless gearbox, which the team will not yet use this weekend: “Obviously I’m not like I was before Assen, but much better than Laguna. I have spent the holiday trying to recover the collarbone, so let’s see how it goes. Yes, the holiday was stopped by the test! But I think it’s important to see how I was on the bike, as I wasn’t great at Laguna, so it was very important for the mind to feel how I am with the bike.”

Teammate Rossi feels the team benefitted from the test: “Yes, we did the test and it was important to stay on the bike a bit. We had some important stuff to try and it was a positive test. Maybe tomorrow we will now be more ready. Yes, we tried the new gearbox at Brno and the feeling was very, very good. We like it a lot. But, you know, it’s still a lot of work to do and I still don’t think it’s ready to use, but we will use it as soon as possible.”

Bradl, fresh from his first-ever MotoGP podium in Laguna Seca, is keen to build on that success, especially as today it was confirmed he will stay with the team for 2014: “I can say that I will continue with LCR next year, with good support from HRC which is most important. It’s good for me and good for the team. I’m very happy with that. It is also good news for the second half of this season, going at the best speed we can from tomorrow and just trying to do the best job possible.”

Ben Spies, who has not been on a bike since his attempt to return at Mugello this year, is looking forward to getting back out on track: “Yeah it’s been a rough yeah to say the least. Now I feel good to finally be back and maybe not take your job as a commentator [to commentator Nick Harris]! Now it’s more that I can get on the bike and ride and not tell the little white lies to all of the journalists that I’m ready to ride! Now we can get on with the business and start the season properly. The last time was Mugello, so we have a lot of cobwebs to dust off. As Marquez says: step by step! It’s a good track to come back to, we have good memories here. We’ll just try to get faster with each session and see where we can end up over the next couple of weeks.”

Indianapolis, known for its raft of events before and during the race weekend, also staged the Bridgestone Golf Performance Challenge, where Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, GO&FUN Gresini duo Alvaro Bautista and Bryan Staring, Kenny Roberts Sr, Randy Mamola and Indycar race-winner Graham Rahal squared off against each other at the Brickyard Crossings Golf Course – another distinctly unique feature of the famous US circuit.

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


LCR Honda Team is pleased to announce that Stefan Bradl has confirmed the agreement with Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) to line up as a Honda “factory supported” rider competing for the LCR Team in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.

The former Moto2 World Champion (currently 6th in the premier class world classification), with direct support from HRC, will continue the productive collaboration with Lucio Cecchinello’s Team which began in 2012 and saw Bradl taking the “Rookie of the Year” Award and his first MotoGP Pole Position and podium this year at Laguna Seca race track.

Shuhei Nakamoto (HRC Vice President): “HRC is happy to continue working with Stefan in the LCR team in 2014. He is showing the performance we expected and he is working very well with Lucio's team. We believe in them and we look forward to seeing Stefan on the podium again soon and many times in the future!"

Lucio Cecchinello – Team Manager: “Being a part of HRC’s program and continuing our sport project with Stefan through to 2014 make us very happy and very proud. Stefan has amazed everybody at his debut in 2012 and is now showing his progress in the MotoGP class. His first MotoGP podium was a great result for him and for the whole Team so, from our side, we will do our best to support Stefan in 2014”.

Stefan Bradl - “HRC’s support was extremely important for me in my first season in the premier class and, with their direct cooperation, I achieved my first podium in the top class this year. I am happy to continue with Lucio’s Team because we know each other very well now and we have built a professional and friendly atmosphere in the Team which allows me to be at 100% every race”.
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