Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl has agreed a two-year deal with the LCR Honda MotoGP squad after impressing during testing at the Valencia circuit last week.
Bradl seemed certain to remain in Moto2 for 2012 after his Keifer Racing squad failed to find the budget required to lease a new Honda RC213V 1000cc machine.
But the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli during last month’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang meant Alvaro Bautista, who was close to agreeing terms with LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello, joined Fausto Gresini’s squad.
That paved the way for German Bradl to secure the LCR slot after he rode the Monaco-based team's RC212V 800cc machine during a two-day test at Valencia.
Bradl said: “This is simply fantastic, like a dream that comes true! When I tested the RC212V in Valencia I realised that LCR Team is very professional and well organised, so I am sure they will do their best to support me. Making my debut in the premier class aboard the RC213V is great and I can not wait to get back on track”.
Team boss Lucio Cecchinello, who negotiated at length with Andrea Dovizioso earlier this season before the Italian joined Cal Crutchlow in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad, said: “Next year will be very important for the MotoGP; starting from next April the championship will be rich of new technical rules and participants. Together with Honda we have considered several riders and Stefan was one of our candidates.
After the test in Valencia we were very impressed by his potential and his determination. Stefan is young and fast and he just clinched the Moto2 world title so we believe we can grow together with the team in the next two years. He already knew the technical staff and today I am happy to give him our warmest welcome in the LCR Team.”
It is the second year in succession that Cecchinello has signed the current Moto2 world champion, though he will be hoping for a much more positive outcome. He signed Toni Elias for 2011 but the Spaniard endured a nightmare return to MotoGP and scored only five top 10 finishes.