British riders poised to end three decade drought

Posted on Dec 17, 2012 by Nick Harris

Three decades of disappointment and frustration for a nation that played such a massive part in the very history of grand prix motor cycle racing could be coming to an end.

Over thirty one years ago Barry Sheene won the 500cc Swedish Grand Prix in Anderstorp. It was not only the last grand prix win for the racing legend but unbelievably the last victory in the premier class of grand prix racing for a British rider.

There has been a couple of close shaves since and plenty of false dawns for a nation brought up on the championship winning exploits of Surtees, Duke, Hailwood, Read and of course Sheene.

Next year the 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship could bring this barren three decades to a welcome conclusion.

Spearheaded by the impressive Cal Crutchlow three British riders take on the best in the world in the MotoGP World Championship that starts under the Qatar floodlights on April 7. Last year the Isle of Man – based Midlander grabbed two podium finishes riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in just his second season. Next year plenty more podiums are well within his very capable grasp while in the right circumstances that long awaited grand prix win is a real possibility against the factory bikes.

Twenty-two year old Bradley Smith makes his MotoGP debut in Qatar. The three times 125cc grand prix winner joins Crutchlow for an all British Tech 3 line-up after two years in Moto2™.

The British trio is completed by 31 year old Ulsterman Michael Laverty who joins Colombian Yonny Hernandez in the Cumbria based Paul Bird Motorsport CRT team.

The West Country duo of Scott Redding and Danny Kent have both tasted grand prix success in the 125 and Moto3™ classes. Last year Wiltshire teenager Kent won two Moto3 grands prix while Gloucestershire teenager Redding is still the youngest rider ever to win a grand prix.

Both will compete in the very competitive Moto2™ World Championship next year. Redding, who finished fifth in the championship this year with four podium finishes, starts his third season with the Marc VDS team. Kent steps up from Moto3 to replace Bradley Smith at Tech 3.

Londoner Gino Rea had a tough first Moto2 season this year despite a superb podium finish in the Malaysian rain. He looks likely to return riding for the new British-based ESGP team.

Spanish-based teenager Kyle Smith makes his Moto2 debut in Qatar riding for the Blusens Avintia team after some impressive performances in the CEV Buckler Spanish Championships.

The very experienced Danny Webb and Scottish teenager John McPhee start the second season of the highly successful Moto3™ World Championship.

It’s been a tough couple of years for Kent-based Webb riding for the Indian Mahindra team but he looks for a change of fortune after joining the Ambrogio Racing team riding a Suter Honda.

Oban-based McPhee impressed as a wild card at the end of this season and is rewarded with a full time grand prix ride for Racing Team Germany on a FTR Honda.

The 2013 MotoGP™ World Championship visits 12 separate countries on four continents between April and November.

There is an exciting new addition to the calendar with Austin in Texas staging the second round, the Americas Grand Prix. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone shows a signficant date change from June to the new date of September 1.

There has been couple of late changes to the original calendar. The opening round under the floodlights in Qatar will start a week later on April 7, while the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring will be held on July 14. 

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