Stefan Bradl Leaves MotoGP’s Forward Racing Yamaha
The fallout surrounding Forward Racing Yamaha’s issues in MotoGP has hit another bump after rider Stefan Bradl terminated his contract with the team, essentially making him a free agent looking for a ride at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
The 25-year old German hasn’t raced since breaking his scaphoid bone at the Assen Grand Prix but the current crisis engulfing his team has put his entire season in question. So with no team and a looming clean bill of health ahead, Bradl’s now in the market for a new team.
The question now is which team would be willing to take the German in right smack in the middle of the current season. Most of the top teams already have a full roster of riders at their disposal so they’re out of the question. Same with satellite teams who are probably more interested in nurturing their own riders rather than take somebody in.
If there’s a team that’s worth looking into, Aprilia Racing Gresini might be that team. One of its two seats is currently occupied by Alvaro Bautista, but the other seat is temporarily being filled in by British Superbike rider Michael Laverty, who himself is filling in for the sacked Marco Melandri. Laverty won’t be able to race for the team full-time since some of the upcoming MotoGP rounds will be in conflict with BSB rounds. That could potentially allow the team to sign Bradl for the second half of the season, assuring some kind of stability for its riders.
For his part, Bradl seems to be done with Forward Racing, even if the team somehow manages to move past its current financial issues. A quick turnaround to a new team ensures him of a seat to end the current season. More importantly, Bradl could play an important role in the development of Aprilia’s 2016 prototype.
It feels like a win-win proposition for all parties concerned. Bradl gets a new team and Aprilia Racing Gresini gets a new rider. All that’s left is to try to make it work.
Continue reading to read more about Stefan Bradl’s exit from Forward Racing Yamaha.
Why it matters
It’s been an up-and-down year for Stefan Bradl. Of the eight races he’s competed in, he finished in the points only once, retiring four times and finishing in either 15th or 16th place in the other three.
He ended up retiring at the Assen Grand Prix because of an injury, the same injury that forced him to sit out the Deutschland Grand Prix. Now his team is in turmoil, leaving him with no saddle to sit on once he returns from his injuries.
It’s hard to feel sorry for the 25-year old German because even with what he’s been through, he’s still going to land on his feet fast. He’s young enough to score a new seat with a new team and more importantly, he’s shown enough promise to be considered as one of MotoGP’s future stars. Who knows, a team might even sign him up before the season ends just to make sure he’s locked in on a contract. I mentioned Aprilia Racing Gresini and while that team has reason to sign a new rider in the wake of Marco Melandri’s departure, there’s still no indication that it’ll go after Bradl.
So for now, Stefan Bradl is a free agent. How long he’ll remain one is up for debate. Personally, I think he’ll find a team willing to sign him in a few weeks, maybe even sooner. Good talent is hard to find these days, especially those who understand what the side of mediocrity feels like.