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Monday, September 24, 2012

Aspar aiming to retain de Puniet, Espargaro

Jorge Martinez 'Aspar' aims to retain both Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro for the 2013 MotoGP season.

The Aspar pair have emerged as the clear leaders of the new privateer CRT class, with de Puniet just three points ahead of Espargaro for twelfth place in the overall championship standings.

MotoGP podium finisher de Puniet has also scored the highest race results so far for CRT, with two eighth places. The next best CRT rider in the MotoGP standings is Yonny Hernandez (Avintia), who has scored just over half of de Puniet's 48 points.

"In MotoGP we are very happy. It is just a shame that I don't think the new CRT class is being given the importance it deserves," began Aspar.

"I think we have improved massively from the start of the season to now. The [Aprilia] ART gets better every time and we are getting gradually closer to the prototype bikes – we've even been ahead of them in some races.

"Randy started out very strongly in pre-season and opened a big advantage over the rest. He's had the odd crash and mechanical breakdown but he's having a marvellous season.

"Aleix started out a little doubtful because of the gap to Randy and you could see that but gradually he has got himself on level terms, if not a little in front.

"They are both at the top of the CRT championship and I am happy with the Power Electronics Aspar Team."

Looking to 2013, Aspar confirmed: "We would like to continue with the two riders we currently have. We're at a crucial stage of negotiations with the riders and sponsors right now so hopefully we can have everything defined very soon."

Aspar, a four time world champion as a rider, added that all of his grand prix teams are likely to remain with the same manufacturers next season.

Aspar switched from satellite Ducati to Aprilia CRT machinery for MotoGP this year, whilst continuing to run the Suter chassis in Moto2 and signing up for the Kalex-KTM in Moto3.

"In theory the team structure will be the same, with two bikes and two riders in each category," he said. "The idea is to continue with the same manufacturers although we do have a few offers on the table.

Colin Edwards (Forward Racing) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) are the only CRT riders so far announced for 2013.

However former Aspar MotoGP rider Hector Barbera - having lost his Pramac Ducati ride - is reported to be joining the Avintia Blusens team.

There are unlikely to be any major changes in the CRT technical concessions, relative to the manufacturer machines, next season - but most expect the two categories to be brought closer for 2014.

At present, CRT riders can use 12 rather than six engines per season and three litres more fuel in each race. A spec ECU could be offered to the CRTs for 2013, ahead of use throughout the MotoGP grid the following year.


World Superbikes winner MSMW2012