Stefan Bradl Gets Release From Forward Racing, Joins Aprilia Gresini
MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl has finally found a seat to race in after agreeing to a deal with Aprilia Racing Gresini to race for the factory outfit for the remainder of the 2015 MotoGP season. The agreement between Bradl and Aprilia Gresini comes after days of contentious discussions with the rider’s former team, Forward Racing Yamaha.
The Yamaha satellite team withdrew from the Indianapolis Grand Prix on August 9, 2015 after team boss was arrested on charges of corruption and money laundering. All of the team’s accounts were frozen as a result of the team boss arrest, forcing Forward Racing Yamaha into a tenuous position of literally not having any money at its disposal. The team’s dire situation opened the door for Bradl to search for another seat, which he found in Aprilia Racing Gresini.
What seemed to be a seamless transition at the beginning became complicated when reports surfaced that Forward Racing was insisting on receiving compensation from Aprilia Gresini for Bradl’s services. And so, after days of tense negotiations between the two teams, Bradl was finally given his release by Forward Racing.
The German rider is now eligible to race for Aprilia Gresini at the Indianapolis Grand Prix where he will compete for Aprilia’s factory team alongside new teammate Alvaro Bautista. Aprilia is under no illusions on what it expects from Bradl for the remainder of the season.
Since the team is using the 2015 season to basically prepare for its 2016 MotoGP campaign, Bradl will play a key role in the development of the Aprilia’s 2016 race bike. His experience as a factory rider for factory-supported satellite teams like Forward Racing Yamaha will be crucial for Aprilia as it continues to build on the steady gains it has achieved this season.
Stefan Bradl will play a huge role in that regard, and if his performance in the second half of the season trends up for Aprilia, the two sides can negotiate to make Bradl an Aprilia rider in 2016 and, quite possibly, the years after that.
Continue reading to read more about Stefan Bradl’s move to Aprilia Racing Gresini in the second half of the 2015 MotoGP season.
Why it matters
All’s well that ends well, right? Actually, that might not be true for Forward Racing Yamaha, which still has to deal with the mess created by its team boss. Without a resolution on that case, it’s hard to see Forward Racing back in the grid for the remainder of the 2015 MotoGP season.
But as far as Stefan Bradl and Aprilia Gresini Racing are concerned, they got what they wanted out of this saga. The German rider will get to continue racing for the remainder of the season. More importantly, he’s now a part of a team that’s in far more stable financial footing than the team he left behind. This allows him to continue focusing on racing without having to worry about the maelstrom of drama currently engulfing Forward Racing Yamaha.
As far as Aprilia Gresini Racing is concerned, the team now has the rider that the team can build its future on. It’s no secret why Aprilia was hot on the tail of Bradl as soon as news broke that he was negotiating an exit from Forward Racing Yamaha. The German is considered as one of the most talented riders in the MotoGP circuit. Put him in a competitive bike and he can win races for the team.
Aprilia still has a ways to go before it can build such a machine for Bradl and Bautista, but with those two riding for the team, a world of possibilities now open up for the team to perform better than it did in the first half of the MotoGP season.
If you’re a fan of the team, though, don’t expect to see immediate results. Aprilia Gresini made this move with an eye towards future seasons when it hopes that Bradl will reward the team with podium finishes or race wins.