The fiercely competitive Moto2™ class kicks off its third year as the intermediate category of the World Championship, with a 33-rider field set to make 2012 another hugely entertaining and closely-fought contest. No less than 17 of those competing in the Championship this year are Grand Prix winners, and with 2011 title winner Stefan Bradl having stepped up to the premier class a new Champion will be crowned in 2012.
Any number of riders can lay claim to being well equipped for the demands of a season-long challenge for the Moto2™ title, with many having vast World Championship experience, and all will be confident of challenging for victory as they bid to get their respective 2012 seasons off to the best possible start.
Race winners in the category include Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock), Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing), Andrea Iannone (Speed Master), Yuki Takahashi (NGM Mobile Forward Racing), Roberto Rolfo (Technomag-CIP) and Marc Márquez (CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), all of whom will be rejoined by 2010 Moto2™ World Champion Toni Elías, who returns to the class riding for the Mapfre Aspar team. Márquez’s recovery from his crash at Sepang last October, which ruled him out for the final two rounds of the season and much of the pre-season, has been impressive and he was amongst the fastest at the final Test at Jerez two weeks prior to the GP.
Added to that list of proven race winners are a number of Moto2™ podium finishers who will be hungry for a first win in the class. Simone Corsi (Came Iodaracing Project), Mika Kallio and Marc VDS Racing team-mate Scott Redding, Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing), Pol Espargaró (Pons 40 HP Tuenti), Julián Simón (Blusens Avintia) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP) have all stepped onto the rostrum on one or more occasion over the past two seasons, and will all be pushing to take the next step. Claudio Corti’s (Italtrans) pre-season form has also hinted that the Italian could be ready to feature regularly towards the front.
A selection of new riders fresh into the category will also be added to the mix, as last-ever 125cc World Champion Nico Terol (Mapfre Aspar) again locks horns with Johann Zarco (JiR Moto2). Making his World Championship debut will be Gino Rea, as the British rider competes for the Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 team in 2012, and Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans) returns to the World Championship.
History will also be made as Elena Rosell becomes the first female rider to compete in Moto2™, riding for the QMMF team, on which she will be joined by Australian rider Anthony West. The set-up will also field a wildcard rider for this round, Nasser Al Malki.