The MotoGP entry list for 2015 maintains the high standard of recent years, with a huge amount of experience and talent on display, illustrated by the statistics given below.
The full time entry list for this year has increased from 23 to 25, with the following changes:
Departing the series after last season – Hiroshi Aoyama, Broc Parkes, Michael Laverty and Colin Edwards who retired from racing after the 2014 Indianapolis GP and was replaced by Alex de Angelis.
Joining the MotoGP class for 2015 – Maverick Viñales, Marco Melandri, Jack Miller, Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz.
The following table shows the amount of Grand Prix wins and world championships achieved by the riders on the 2015 entry list.
The strength of the MotoGP grid can be illustrated by the following facts about the riders who will line up on the grid for 2015:
There are twelve riders who have won a Grand Prix World Championship. This is the greatest number of grand prix world champions ever assembled on one grid.
These twelve riders have won a total of twenty-eight World Championships titles between them; a new record for the full-time MotoGP entry list.
Seven riders on the list have won races in the premier-class. These seven riders have between them won a total of 169 premier-class GP races – the highest number of accumulated premier-class GP wins ever assembled on the entry list.
Nineteen riders on the MotoGP entry list have had race victories in at least one of the three classes of Grand Prix racing
The combined total of Grand Prix victories for the riders in the list above is 390. If all of these GP winners line up on the grid in Qatar it will set a new record for the greatest aggregate number of GP wins for riders starting a Grand Prix race; the current record is a total of 360 GP wins for the riders lining up on the grid for the final MotoGP race of 2014 at Valencia.
The oldest rider on the MotoGP full-time entry list is Valentino Rossi, who celebrated his 36th birthday in February. The youngest rider is Jack Miller, who will be 20 years and 70 days old when he lines up on the grid in Qatar; Miller is just six days younger than fellow MotoGP rookie Maverick Viñales.
For the first time since the class was introduced in 2010, the Moto2 World Champion is attempting to defend his world title. Esteve Rabat is joined in the Moto2 class in 2015 by two of the top three riders from last years Moto3 championship. Maverick Viñales is the only one of the top fifteen riders from last years Moto2 championship who will not be riding in the class again in 2015. The main changes in the full time entry list for this year are as follows:
Out from last year have gone: Maverick Viñales, Jordi Torres, Mattia Pasini, Gino Rea, Nico Terol, Roman Ramos, Tetsuta Nagashima and Josh Herrin who dropped out of the series after Silverstone last year.
Joining the Moto2 class as full-time entrants come the following riders: Jesko Raffin, Alex Rins, Zaqhwan Zaidi, Florian Alt and Alex Marquez
The strength in depth of the Moto2 grid can be illustrated by the following facts and figures about the riders lining up lining up on the grid for 2015:
Fourteen of the riders on the full-time entry list have previously won Grand Prix races
Between them, these fourteen riders have scored eighty-three World Championship race wins.
Four of the riders competing in Moto2 in 2014 are previous 125cc or Moto3 World Champions: Julian Simon, Thomas Luthi, Sandro Cortese and Alex Marquez.
The youngest rider in the full-time Moto2 entry list, for the second successive year, is eighteen year old Lorenzo Baldassari, one of six riders in Moto2 who will start the season as teenagers, along with Jesko Raffin, Florian Alt, Alex Marquez, Alex Rins and Zaqhwan Zaidi. The oldest rider is Anthony West, who is one of only three riders in Moto2 to have celebrated their 30th birthday’s before the opening race of the year in Qatar, the others being Mika Kallio and Azlan Shah.
New young riders join the Moto3 class
Once again the Moto3 class has attracted a host of young, talented riders to grand prix racing from around the world.
The main changes in the Moto3 entry list compared to 2014 are given below:
Out from last year have gone: Alex Marquez, Jack Miller, Alex Rins, Gabriel Ramos, Hafiq Azmi, Arthur Sissis, Eric Granado, Scott Deroue, Luca Gruenwald and Bryan Schouten.
Into the series as full-time riders come the following: Remy Gardner, Maria Herrera, Andrea Migno, Fabio Quartararo, Tatsuki Suzuki, Stefano Manzi, Darryn Binder, Hiroki Ono, Jorge Martin, Gabriel Rodrigo and Jorge Navarro who replaced Livio Loi half way through 2014.
This influx of young talent means that at the opening race of the year only four of the riders on the full-time entry list will be over the age of 21: Hiroki Ono (22), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (23), Alexis Masbou (27) and Efren Vazquez (28). Of the thirty-four riders on the Moto3 full-time entry list, twenty-three will still be teenagers at the opening race of the year. The youngest rider competing full-time in Moto3 in 2015 is Fabio Quartararo, who will be 15 years and 343 days old when he makes his GP debut in Qatar, at the same time becoming the youngest ever rider to compete in the Moto3 class.
Suzuki return to grand prix racing
Suzuki are returning to grand prix racing with a full-time factory entry in the MotoGP class after a three year break.
The Japanese manufacturer has a long and successful history in grand prix racing, as shown by the following:
Suzuki took their first grand prix win with Ernst Degner in 1962 in the 50cc class, going on to claim the manufacturers first ever World Championship title in the same season. Suzuki also won their first constructors title in the 50cc class in 1962.
The first win in the premier-class for Suzuki came in at the Ulster Grand Prix in 1971, ridden by Jack Findlay. This win was also significant as it was the first 500cc GP victory by a two-stroke machine.
Suzuki entered the 500cc world championship with a full factory effort in 1974 with a brand new four-cylinder two-stroke machine, the RG500, with Barry Sheene as the number one rider.
Barry Sheene gave the RG500 its first GP win at the Dutch TT in 1975, and in the following year he became the first rider to win the 500cc World Championship on a Suzuki; a title he successfully defended in 1977.
Suzuki also took their first 500cc constructors championship in 1976, and went on to dominate the class during the following years, not relinquishing the title until the 1982 season.
Suzuki also manufactured a version of the RG500 for sale to “privateer” racers, and this was so successful that in 1976 eleven of the top twelve riders in the 500cc World Championship standings were riding Suzuki machinery.
Since Sheene’s success in 1977, the manufacturer has claimed four more 500cc world titles with riders: Marco Lucchinelli (1981), Franco Uncini (1982), Kevin Schwantz (1993) and Kenny Roberts (2000).
Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP class in 2002, Suzuki have taken just one victory – with Chris Vermeulen at Le Mans in 2007. In total Suzuki have amassed a total of 155 grand prix wins: 1 x MotoGP, 89 x 500cc, 35 x 125cc, 30 x 50cc.
Spain and Italy equal on MotoGP victories
The win by Marc Marquez at the final race of 2014 was the 87th victory in the MotoGP World Championship by Spanish riders since MotoGP became the premier class of grand prix racing in 2002. This is the same number of wins achieved by Italy in the MotoGP class over the same period.
NATION MotoGP VICTORIES
Grand Prix racing numbers
150 – Karel Abraham will be making his 150th grand prix start at the Qatar GP. He will be the first Czech rider to reach the milestone of 150 grand prix starts.
150 – At the Qatar Grand Prix Bradley Smith is scheduled to become the youngest ever British rider to reach the milestone of 150 grand prix starts across all classes; the current holder of this record is Mike Hailwood.
94 – Dani Pedrosa’s third place finish in the final race of 2014 at Valencia was the 94th time that he has stood on the podium in the MotoGP class. One more top three finish for Pedrosa and he will equal the number of premier-class podiums of Mick Doohan. Only Valentino Rossi, with 160 top three finishes, has more podiums in the premier class than Pedrosa and Doohan.
20 – 2015 is Valentino Rossi’s 20th successive year as a grand prix rider. During this lengthy GP career he has only missed four races, after breaking his leg at Mugello in 2010.
19 – The victory by Marc Marquez at the final race of 2014 in Valencia was his 19th victory in the MotoGP class, the same number of premier-class wins that Barry Sheene achieved during his career. One more win for Marquez and he will equal the 20 premier-class career wins achieved by Freddie Spencer.
12 – This will be the twelfth occasion that a Grand Prix event has been held at the Losail circuit and the eighth under floodlights.
9 – This will be the ninth successive year that the Losail International Circuit has hosted the opening Grand Prix event of the year.
5 – The two riders with most GP victories at Losail, having amassed five wins each, are Casey Stoner (4 x MotoGP, 1 x 250cc) and Jorge Lorenzo (2 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc).
5 – Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in MotoGP at this circuit with five wins, while both Ducati and Honda have had three MotoGP victories at the Losail circuit.
Moto2 stats and facts
For the last four years, the winner of the Qatar Moto2 race has gone on to clinch the world title: Stefan Bradl in 2011, Marc Marquez in 2012, Pol Espargaro in 2013 and Tito Rabat last year.
Tito Rabat won the Moto2 race at Qatar last year from pole position. He is the first rider since the Moto2 championship was introduced in 2010 to attempt to defend his world title, and could be the first rider to become a double World Champion in the Moto2 class.
In addition to Rabat, the only other past Qatar GP winner who is currently competing in the Moto2 class is Luis Salom, who won the Moto3 race at Losail in 2013.
Mika Kallio has finished second at Qatar on three occasions: in the 125cc class in both 2005 & 2006, and in the Moto2 race last year.
Three of the riders in the Moto2 class in 2015 have competed in all eleven previous grand prix events to be held at the Losail circuit: Mika Kallio, Julian Simon and Simone Corsi.
Thomas Luthi has finished on the podium twice in the Moto2 class at the Qatar Grand Prix; 3rd in both 2011 and 2014. Luthi also qualified on pole at Losail in 2012 and was leading the race starting the final lap, before a clash with Marquez at Turn 1 resulted in him running off the track and eventually finishing fifth. Luthi won the final Moto2 race of the 2014 season and in Qatar will be aiming to take back-to-back wins for the first time in his GP career.
Takaaki Nakagami finished 3rd in the Moto2 race at Qatar in 2013 and he was the second rider across the line last year at Losail, but was later disqualified for a technical infringement.
Alex Rins qualified on pole for the Moto3 race last year in Qatar, but made a bad start and finished the first lap down in 10th place before battling his way back to second place and then losing out on the run to the line to finally finish 5th.
Alex Marquez, who finished 2nd in the Moto3 race last year in Qatar, will be aiming to become the first lightweight-class world champion to win on his debut in the intermediate-class since Dani Pedrosa in 2004.
After five seasons of the Moto2 class, Dominique Aegerter is now the only rider to have competed in all 86 Moto2 races that have taken place.
Moto3 stats and facts
No rider in the current Moto3 field has won a World Championship GP race in Qatar.
Romano Fenati finished second at Qatar in 2012 on his grand prix debut; since then he has been less successful at Losail, finishing 15th in 2013 and 12th last year.
Efren Vazquez finished second in the 125cc GP at Qatar in 2010 – his first podium finish in Grand Prix racing. Last year he was again on the podium at the opening race of the year, finishing third, just 0.280s behind race winner Jack Miller.
The first six riders across the line in the Moto3 race in Qatar last year were covered by just 0.586 seconds.
For the last six years in the Moto3/125cc class, the rider winning the World Championship has finished on the podium at the opening race of the year in Qatar.
With Darryn Binder joining brother Brad Binder in the Moto3 class in 2015, it will be the first time since 2004 that a pair of brothers has competed fulltime in the lightweight-class of racing, when Mika and elder brother Vesa both did a full season in the 125cc class.
Fourteen nationalities are represented on the full-time entry list for the Moto3 class, with Italy having the most riders with nine, followed by Spain with seven, France with three, Britain, Japan, South Africa and Czech all with two, and Australia, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, Malaysia, Germany and Argentina with one.
Gabriel Rodrigo is the first rider from Argentina to start the season as a full-time entry in the lightweight-class of grand prix racing since Willy Perez in 1987.
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