Forward Racing expect ‘strong’ Stefan Bradl in 2015

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Forward Racing Yamaha boss Giovanni Cuzari expects new rider Stefan Bradl to be at least as competitive as departing Spaniard Aleix Espargaro in the 2015 MotoGP world championship.

Bradl will ride Yamaha’s YZR-M1 Open class entry this year after ending his three-season association with LCR Honda.

The German had a disappointing final season on a factory-backed RC213V and he scored just five top six finishes in 18 races.

It was made clear by senior management that HRC was not happy with his performances, though he could have remained with LCR for another season.

Team boss Lucio Cecchinello was willing to give Bradl a new deal, but when in a financial position to make the 2011 Moto2 world champion a formal proposal, he had already accepted a deal to move to Forward Racing.

And Forward boss Cuzari has high hopes that Bradl can at least emulate the impressive performances of Espargaro, who quit the Italian-based squad to head up Suzuki’s factory MotoGP project with Maverick Vinales.

Espargaro had an impressive campaign and claimed a career first pole position in Assen and a maiden premier class podium at Motorland Aragon.

Cuzari told MCN: “I love Aleix and we are losing a strong rider but we signed with a world champion that has shown that he is very fast. I believe that Stefan can be very strong in our team. He is fighting in every race with the top five and six and I think he will be very strong. I expect him to deliver at least the same as Aleix but honestly I expect a little bit more. Stefan is a world champion in Moto2 where the level is so high and if you are not a fighter you don’t win. So Stefan has the attributes to fight.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt