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.”