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Team Aspar MotoGP Team Switches to Honda and Signs Nicky Hayden to Two-Year Contract

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Based in Spain and headed by Jorge Martinez, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team has fielded the most successful CRT bikes in MotoGP the past two years, powered by Aprilia engines. Not unexpectedly, Team Aspar is switching to Honda power for 2014, having signed a deal to campaign the “MotoGP Production Racer” that has recently undergone testing by retired champion Casey Stoner. Jorge Martinez is pictured shaking hands with Honda MotoGP racing boss Shuhei Nakamoto above.

Bigger news for American fans involves the signing of Nicky Hayden by this new Honda team. Hayden reportedly has a two-year deal, and Aspar will field a second rider, who is currently unknown and unsigned.

Somewhat ironically, the “CRT” category disappears, and the new sub-factory machines will be described as the “Open” bikes, even though they are restricted in their use of a spec ECU and software. They will be allowed additional fuel in comparison with the full factory machines. We will see whether Hayden can ride near the front next year on his non-factory  bike.

Here is the press release from Team Aspar:

POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR TEAM BEGIN NEW ADVENTURE WITH HONDA

Spanish team to enter MotoGP World Championship next season with Honda’s ‘MotoGP Production Racer’ and former World Champion Nicky Hayden on board

Ever since the dawn of the CRT era in MotoGP the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team has been a leading light and a point of reference in the new category. After dominating last year the 2013 season has followed much the same path and with three races remaining the CRT ‘title’ is within touching distance. With the regulations set to change again for 2014 and the CRTs due to give way to a new breed of production racers designed to bring the grid even closer together, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team is keen to move with the times and can now confirm a new alliance with Honda. The team will run the Japanese factory’s new ‘MotoGP Production Racer’ in 2014, with former World Champion Nicky Hayden as its main rider.

The new machine, which is based on the Honda RC213V prototype, has already been tested in Japan by the Hamamatsu factory test riders and is showing a competitive level of performance. The team will take delivery in time for the official MotoGP post-season test at Valencia in November, marking a return to the factory that the team first started with in 1992. It also marks a return of sorts for Hayden, who won the MotoGP World Championship with Honda back in 2006. The objective for the team run by Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’ is clear: to continue being a point of reference in the premier class of motorcycle racing.

Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’: “It is great news for the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team to have the acquired services of Honda and a rider of the profile of Nicky Hayden. We are taking a huge step forward in terms of quality, prestige and image. We have grown a lot in a short space of time and we are all very excited about this new project with Honda. It is the factory that the ASPAR Team first started with back in 1992 and I have great memories of that period. Our objective is to continue being a reference point in the premier-class. I think the combination of Honda’s MotoGP Production Racer and Nicky Hayden is going to be a very successful one. We are thrilled to be working with a manufacturer with the history that Honda has and a rider like Nicky, a World Champion with huge experience. It will be a big change for us after so many years working with Italian factories but we have high hopes for this new project. We are up for the challenge and we will give maximum effort to making sure the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team continues achieving top results.”

13 Comments

  1. reg says:

    CS said this bike is good, plus will have more fuel and if i’m not wrong some tyres advantages, so NH should do well, just after the 4 factory main bikes.

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  2. goose says:

    I honestly wish Nicky had gotten a good ride in WSB instead of a second rate ride in MotoGP. That way he could be on a winning bike again and have a solid chance at being the first person to win a world championship in GP and WSB.

    Well, he wants to stay in MotoGP and he got his wish so good for him. I hope he shocks us (well, me at least) and picks up a few podiums.

    Goose

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  3. Brian says:

    Unless an alien falls down or the track is really wet, Nicky probably won’t step on the podium.
    However, I think he may fight for for a spot in the next tier of riders, akin to Rossi/Bautista/Crutchlow/Bradl battles that we’ve been seeing this year, if the bike is as good as Stoner said it was after testing.

    Whether or not he wins or podiums, I’m sure at the last he will have a lot more fun next year rather than trying to stay ahead of the ART’s for the past couple seasons.

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  4. starmag says:

    Apparently the pot o’ gold is located in Nakamoto’s left ear. Can’t wait for the music video of Nickey singing “Somewhere over the rainbow”.

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    • jimmihaffa says:

      An astute observation, Starmag, though if Rossi loses his factory Yamaha ride it will likely be he that ends up sending sweet kisses into Nakamoto’s ear while dancing to Donna Summer’s “I’m a Rainbow”.

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      • dino says:

        And the award for Most Entertaining (but irrelevant) Comments goes to….

        It’s a tie, for Starmag, and jimmihaffa (bonus for the jimmy name!)

        Well done, both of you… Good show! Now if I could just “Rainbow Connection” as sung by Kermit the Frog out of my head…

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  5. raivkka says:

    good news that Nicky has a job but what a waste of time racing a bike with NO chance of winning crap.

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    • VLJ says:

      +1

      Nicky needs to find a way onto that 2015 factory Suzuki ride. It’s not like that one will have much of a chance either, but at least it will have SOME chance.

      It’s either that, or figure out a way to land in WSB alongside Sykes at Kawi, or on a CBR1000RR, with the hope that Honda will beef up their WSB effort.

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  6. VLJ says:

    So, Aspar’s goal with this new endeavor is merely to “continue being a point of reference in the premier class of motorcycle racing.”

    Well, Aprilia’s flammable old Cube was a point of reference. So were the Suter CRT sleds. I’m pretty sure that Nicky’s current Ducati ride is another point of reference.

    For that matter, the painted dragon’s teeth lining each track provide additional points of reference.

    Not exactly reaching for the stars here, are we, Jorge?

    Eeash.

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  7. RD350 says:

    This is good news I guess.

    Happy to see Nicky will be in MotoGP for awhile longer. I just wish there were a few more Honda or Yamaha factory spots available. 4 factory bikes that are capable of winning is just not enough. I am sure the production Honda will be superior to the factory Ducati so in that sense its a good move for Nicky.

    Whether the new “customer” bikes are on the same level as the level 2 “satellite” bikes will remain to be seen.

    Pity the factory Aprilia ride fell apart .. that sounded interesting.

    I really hope that Nicky can show his stuff on this new ride. I am getting tired of listening to the Spanish national anthem after every MotoGP race.

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  8. JPJ says:

    Great news for Hayden fans.

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