LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello is convinced Stefan Bradl could have become a consistent podium threat in MotoGP if the German had continued on a factory-backed RC213V next season.
Cecchinello wanted to keep the 2011 Moto2 world champion in his satellite Honda squad for a fourth season next year, despite HRC management making it clear they were unhappy with Bradl’s results.
Bradl scored just one podium in his three-year spell at LCR and was campaigning a bike almost identical in specification to the Repsol RC213V machine raced by Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
With his future uncertain in the middle of the season, Bradl secured a move to Forward Racing Yamaha, despite Cecchinello’s desire to keep him.
And Italian Cecchinello told MCN: “When our new sponsor CWM World was confirmed and we had the budget to have a factory bike, we spoke to Stefan to renew the contract. We made an offer and he asked for more time and he took he decision to move to Forward Racing. It is a shame because in 18 years as a team owner we have had many riders and Stefan is one of the nicest and we felt very close with him. He has a great talent but he needs to fix his weak points. He needs to be tougher battling with other riders and have more consistent lap times. I believe he has room to improve, which is why I wanted to do one more year with him. There are some incredibly talented riders who can immediately reach the top level. Others reach the top after some years of hard work. That's why I wanted to go ahead with Stefan because I still believe in his potential."
Cecchinello will field British rider Cal Crutchlow on the factory RC213V prototype in 2015 and for the first time he will expand his Monaco-based effort to a two-rider team.
Moto3 world championship runner-up Jack Miller will partner Crutchlow, but the teenage Aussie will ride Honda’s new RC213V-RS Open class machine.