The MotoGP grid for next season is already shaping up. Maverick Viñales and Jack Miller are just two of the exciting new riders to be joining for 2015, with new bikes and new teams adding to the colour in the premier class.
The 2013 Moto3 World Champion and 2014 Moto2 Rookie of the Year Viñales is one of the most promising young riders in the sport having racked up a total of 16 Grand Prix wins in the smaller classes at the age of just 19.
Viñales took the Moto3 title last year in dramatic fashion at the final race of the season and would go on to score a victory in just his second appearance in the intermediate category in 2014 as he impressed the paddock with his talent throughout the year.
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He also impressed Suzuki and they have recruited him alongside his countryman Aleix Espargaro to ride the GSX-RR in 2015 and spearhead their return to Grand Prix racing. Viñales will get great advice from Espargaro and from Suzuki’s experienced and respected MotoGP team manager Davide Brivio.
One of Viñales’ targets in 2015 will be to beat his friend Jack Miller on track as they make their MotoGP debuts together. Miller arrives in the premier class straight from Moto3 where the Australian rider won six races in 2014 and just missed out on the title to Spaniard Alex Marquez.
Miller is a charismatic and effervescent character and fans around the world will be interested to see how competitive he can be as he rides on an Open Honda bike with the CWM LCR Honda team. Team manager Lucio Cecchinello was the man who helped Casey Stoner to find his way at the top level in MotoGP and Miller will be looking to the Italian boss for guidance as he makes the big leap from 250cc to 1000cc machinery.
Another interesting new youngster lining up in MotoGP next year is Frenchman Loris Baz who arrives from a successful spell in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. Baz won races in Superbikes and caught the attention of NGM Forward Racing who have recruited him to ride alongside another new signing for the team – German Stefan Bradl.
Baz is still just 21 years-old and therefore has time on his hands as he looks to make a successful adaptation to Grand Prix competition on his new Forward Yamaha bike.
Also arriving from Superbikes is Eugene Laverty, the 28-year old Irishman who brings with him a wealth of experience as he comes into the Drive M7 Aspar team. Laverty returns to the Grand Prix scene having ridden in the 125cc and 250cc classes early in his career and having gone on to win races in Superbikes and Supersport competition.
Meanwhile the new Factory Aprilia Gresini team have also opted for experience, bringing Marco Melandri back to the grid as the Italian factory returns to MotoGP. Former 250cc World Champion Melandri is well known to MotoGP fans having spent eight years in the premier class from 2003 to 2010, winning five races along the way.
Melandri won six races in Superbikes in 2014 on Aprilia machinery and his talent will add to the manufacturer’s MotoGP competitiveness and that of the MotoGP grid.
Not exactly a newcomer in MotoGP, but now also set for another full season at the top level is Alex de Angelis. The San Marino representative has spent periods in Moto2 and MotoGP over recent seasons and now has the opportunity to continue in the premier class with the Octo Iodaracing Team in 2015.