Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari believes the new Open class will present his Italian-based squad with a great opportunity to drastically increase its profile in MotoGP.
Ever since it joined MotoGP in 2012 in the CRT class, Forward Racing has struggled to gain exposure while running Suter-BMW and then FTR-Kawasaki machinery.
The Open class was devised for 2014 to give non-factory entries like Forward the chance to race more competitive machinery at an affordable price.
Forward have been a major benefactor having chosen to lease a 2013-spec Yamaha YZR-M1 prototype, which can run more fuel, extra engines and softer tyres in the new Open class.
The Yamaha strategy looks more competitive than the Honda RCV1000R, which HRC has sold and is a more watered down version of its factory RC213V with no pneumatic valve or seamless shift gearbox technology.
Aleix Espargaro has been the big surprise package of winter testing and his fourth places in the two Sepang tests in Malaysia generated more publicity for Forward in the space of a few weeks than it got in 2012 and 2013.
And that continued earlier this month when Espargaro topped the timesheets during a non-factory team test in Qatar.
Cuzari told MCN: “Now we can fight to be in the top 10 and it would never have been like this without this opportunity. If you have more visibility you can ask more money from sponsors and this will help us continue in the future. The past two years were a disaster because we were never on TV and it is not easy to ask for to a sponsor for millions in that situation.”