Iconic British car manufacturer Caterham will back a new team in the Moto2 world championship next season ahead of an ambitious bid to break into the two-wheeled production market.
MCN learned during last weekend’s Misano MotoGP race that a brand new Supersport 600cc machine is planned for a possible release date in 2015, though there are no firm technical details as yet on the bike.
Ahead of the bold plan to enter the Supersport market, Caterham, which is world renowned for manufacturing specialist lightweight sports cars, is also planning mass production of 50,000 250cc four-stroke single-cylinder machines based on the current Moto3 format in MotoGP.
The 250cc four-stroke project though is understood to be exclusively for sale in the Malaysian market.
It is believed some of the bikes will be built at Caterham’s Hingham-based Technology and Innovation Centre in Norfolk.
It was only last week that Caterham revealed expansion plans for a new multi-million production plant at Hingham, though details of specifically what will be manufactured there are being kept a closely guarded secret.
An influential figure behind the racing and production bike plan is prominent Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes.
Fernandes runs the hugely successful AirAsia and also owns the Caterham Formula One team. He is also the high profile chairman of London-based football club Queens Park Rangers.
The Caterham that will race in next year’s Moto2 world championship will be in name only. The team will be entirely funded by Caterham but will use a Swiss-built Suter chassis.
Caterham engineering staff though will work closely on the new racing project.
Negotiations have taken place with Scott Redding’s Marc VDS Racing teammate Mika Kallio.
The Finn is the highest-ranking rider available on the market behind Redding, Pol Espargaro and Esteve Rabat, while Swiss rider Dominique Aegerter is Caterham’s other preferred pick for the new two-man team.
Caterham applied for a place on the 2014 grid and MCN understands its application was approved by the
International Race Teams Association (IRTA) and Dorna during initial selection meetings in Misano.