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Stefan Bradl to Forward Yamaha for MotoGP 2015
Stefan Bradl, replaced at LCR Honda by Cal Crutchlow, will ride for Forward Yamaha in the 2015 MotoGP World Championship.
“It's with great pleasure that we welcome Stefan Bradl to our team,” said Forward owner Giovanni Cuzari. “We believe that Stefan is a strong rider, that our package will suit his riding style very well and we look forward to start this new cooperation.
“Moreover, Germany represents an important market and it's important to have a strong German rider in our line up.”
24-year-old Bradl has been an LCR rider since joining MotoGP as the reigning Moto2 champion in 2012.
While Bradl has been unable to build on a debut pole and podium at Laguna Seca last year, holding ninth in this year's championship with a best finish of fourth, he has shown his speed potential with two front row starts.
Forward requires at least one new rider for its Open class Yamaha package with Colin Edwards retiring at the end of this year.
But it is the performances of Edwards' team-mate Aleix Espargaro that will have convinced Bradl - the Spaniard dominating the new non-factory category to hold sixth in the world championship, with one pole position and a best finish of fourth.
Forward began the season with both of its riders running a Yamaha M1 engine, swing-arm and chassis, with Edwards then moving to an FTR frame from Mugello. It is unclear if both Forward bikes will run the FTR frame in 2015, or if the Yamaha version will continue to be an option.
Espargaro's 2015 plans are still to be confirmed, with strong rumours that he will join Suzuki.
Bradl's signature means that, Jorge Lorenzo aside, the top nine riders in the present world championship standings have now signed for 2015. Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) lead the list of those yet to be confirmed, with Lorenzo's Yamaha renewal considered a formality given the absence of other options.
Next year will be the final season of the current Factory/Open class technical regulations, with the Open class control ECU becoming mandatory for all from 2016, when Michelin will also replace Bridgestone as exclusive tyre supplier.
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