Caterham ready for Moto2 challenge
The new British-based Caterham Moto2 squad was officially unveiled at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia yesterday (Sunday).
The new squad, which will be managed by former 250GP racer Johan Stigefelt, will race the Swiss designed and built Suter chassis in 2014.
Newly crowned American superbike Josh Herrin will join the new Caterham outfit, while French rider Johann Zarco is currently in negotiations with the squad that will share its base with Caterham’s F1 project at Leafield.
Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, who heads the hugely successful Air Asia, owns Caterham and he is the current chairman of Championship side Queens Park Rangers.
Outlining the reasons for Caterham’s expansion from four to two wheels, which was exclusively revealed by MCN last month, Kamarudin Meranun, co-chairman of Caterham Group, said: “I am delighted to confirm that we have had our entry into Moto2 accepted, and to be able to make this announcement at our home track of Sepang is a proud moment.
Through AirAsia, Tony Fernandes and I have been passionate supporters of motorbike racing for many years and the establishment of our own team in Moto2 is the natural next step for Caterham Group.
I am also very pleased to confirm our first rider, Josh Herrin, who is a very exciting talent and comes to us as the reigning AMA Superbike Champion. He shares our belief that we can achieve the ambitious goals we are setting for 2014 and beyond and we are all excited about seeing him continue to develop on the world stage. We are also going to continue to support Fahmi’s (Zulfhami Khairuddin) burgeoning career in Moto3, a young Malaysian rider whose potential develops every season.
In addition, we can now confirm that we have signed a technical partnership with Suter Racing Technology for the supply of chassis. This is a pragmatic move, one that gives us access to proven design and manufacturing skills and allows us to build our team with the best possible partners from day one.
“We will be making more announcements in due course on the second rider who will join Josh, and providing more details on our team structure and goals. For now, we can say that we will be on the grid from 2014 with the experienced hand of Johan Stigefelt as our Team Manager, and this is just the start of our ambitions on two wheels. We announced in November 2012 that Caterham Cars is now in a joint venture with Renault to build a new range of roadcars, and we will soon be making further announcements about our plans for taking Caterham’s two wheeled interests from the track to the road.
This is another exciting milestone in the life of Caterham Group, and Tony and I are already looking forward to seeing Caterham Moto Racing Team line up on the grid at the Losail Circuit in Doha, Qatar at its first race in 2014. With the team we are putting in place we have a strong chance of making good progress in our first year, and for many seasons to come.”
Herrin won the AMA recently at Laguna Seca in California and he said he is relishing the challenge of moving to the world championship arena.
He said: “I could not be more excited about the opportunity to race with the Caterham Moto Racing Team. It has been a goal of mine since I was young boy to race in the World Championship and it seems almost surreal now that the opportunity is finally here. I have been training very hard and I am ready to fight for great results in the super competitive Moto2™ class. I can’t thank my manager Bob Moore enough for working so hard to get me on the best team for next year, and I want to thank everyone at Caterham Moto Racing Team for helping make my dream come true.”