2003 MotoGP Line-Up is Nearly Complete



2003 MotoGP Line-Up is Nearly Complete Now

By: Dennis Noyes

Barcelona, Spain, November 11

With the confirmation of Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga as factory Aprilia riders on the RS Cube triples and of Max Biaggi on a Pramac-backed Pons Honda, the line-up for the Moto GP class in 2003 is just about complete.

There are several announcements that have not yet been made yet: Repsol has not announced their deal to continue as sponsor of the lead HRC Honda team. Marlboro has yet to show their colors on the factory Ducatis. We don’t know what colors Team Pons will run and we are unsure of the final plans of the WCM and D´Antin teams, but the following is a summation of what we know along with what seems most likely a week after the final GP of the season. Unless otherwise stated all riders will use Michelin tires.

Honda teams:
(Seven riders, six certain, one to be confirmed,)
Repsol Honda will run Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. Telefonica Movistar Gresini Honda will enter Daijiro Kato and Sete Gibernau. Pons Honda with Pramac involvement of some kind either as partner or as sponsor will run Max Biaggi and, although unconfirmed, Tohru Ukawa. There may be a seventh Honda running on Bridgestone tires and entered using one of the two slots belonging to Team D´Antin, but with an independent structure. This bike will probably be ridden by Makuto Tamada (TBC).

Yamaha teams:
(Five riders, four certain, one to be confirmed)
Fortuna Yamaha will run Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri. Gauloises Yamaha will run Alex Barros and Olivier Jacque. A fifth Yamaha rider (TBC) is expected to appear running out of the D´Antin team structure. This rider will probably be Shinya Nakano or Norick Abe.

Suzuki Team: (Two riders)
No sponsor has yet been announced for the factory Suzuki team which will run Kenny Roberts Junior and John Hopkins. This is the first time a GP team has run two American riders in the same class since Doug Chandler and John Kocinski in 1993.

Aprilia Team: (Two riders)
No sponsor has been announced for the factory Aprilia team of Colin Edwards and Noriyuki Haga.

Proton Team: (Two riders)
The Proton KR team will have the same riders, Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki, but a new V5 four stroke which is being readied for its first tests. Proton will run Bridgestone tires.

Kawasaki Team: (Two riders)
The green team will run Garry McCoy and almost certainly Andrew Pitt on Dunlops.

Ducati Team: (Two riders)
The Marlboro Ducati team will run Troy Bayliss and Loris Capiriossi.

All 4-strokes next year, Barros already demonstrated these last couple of races that Rossi isn't that much beeter than the rest. There are some strong teams in there, Aprilia is going to be good same with Ducati, Barros is going to keep Yamaha going, but some is going to have to step it up to beat the Hondas, going to be an interesting year indeed
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