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Youthful feel to 2008 MotoGP grid

Youthful feel to 2008 MotoGP grid

Following the promotion of three bright young hopes from the 250cc championship and the retirements of several members of MotoGPs old guard, the premier class grid will certainly have a youthful look when the 2008 season gets underway.

Following the promotion of three bright young hopes from the 250cc championship and the retirements of several members of MotoGPs old guard, the premier class grid will certainly have a youthful look when the 2008 season gets underway.

There is no doubt that double quarter litre class World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and his fellow 250 graduates Andrea Dovizioso and Alex de Angelis will this year add zest and intrigue to the 800cc category.

Last season Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli was the only MotoGP rookie, at the age of 24, whilst the average age of the 21 riders who participated in last years opening race in Qatar was approximately 28 years and 6 months - with nine of the competitors being at least 30 years old.

Since then MotoGP has said goodbye to Olivier Jacque, who ended his racing career due to persistent injury problems midway through last season, along with his fellow veterans Alex Barros and Carlos Checa who departed from the World Championship at the end of 2007.

Meanwhile, further experienced riders who were present at Losail that day last March such as Ilmor pair Andrew Pitt and Jeremy McWilliams, who did not complete the season due to their teams withdrawal from racing, and Kenny Roberts Jnr., who is still yet to announce his 2008 plans are, of course, absent from this years provisional MotoGP entry list.

Taking a look at that list and therefore the line-up expected to participate in next weeks opening test of the year at Sepang the average has dropped considerably to approximately 25 years and 7 months.

Lorenzo is still just 20 years old, Dovizioso is 21 and De Angelis 23, yet all have undoubted talent and have each demonstrated maturity in the smaller classes already. Though fellow newcomer James Toseland might have had his MotoGP break earlier is his career he still has plenty of time ahead of him at the age of 27.

In addition to the MotoGP rookies there is youth in abundance elsewhere in the grid, a shining example being World Champion Casey Stoner, who is still only 22. In his remarkable 2007 triumph he became the second youngest title winner of all time in Japan at 21 years and 342 days, behind Freddie Spencer (21 years and 258 days old at the time of his 1983 title win).

The 2007 runner-up Dani Pedrosa is still just 22 years old, whilst five-time premier class title winner Valentino Rossi is one of the most experienced riders on the 2008 entry list at the spritely age of 28 the Doctor being the fourth oldest member of this years MotoGP fraternity.

Indeed, there are just three confirmed 2008 MotoGP riders who have passed the 30 mark and that trio of Colin Edwards, Loris Capirossi and Shinya Nakano will all be keen to prove the value of experience as they each start the year refreshed by moves to new teams.

Provisional 2008 MotoGP entry list (current age in brackets)

1. CASEY STONER DUCATI MARLBORO (22)
3. ALEX DE ANGELIS HONDA GRESINI (23)
4. ANDREA DOVIZIOSO JiR SCOT TEAM (21)
5. COLIN EDWARDS YAMAHA TECH 3 (33)
7. CHRIS VERMEULEN RIZLA SUZUKI (25)
13. ANTHONY WEST KAWASAKI RACING (26)
14. RANDY DE PUNIET HONDA LCR (26)
21. JOHN HOPKINS KAWASAKI RACING (24)
24. TONI ELIAS TEAM ALICE (24)
26. DANI PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA (22)
33. MARCO MELANDRI DUCATI MARLBORO (25)
46. VALENTINO ROSSI FIAT YAMAHA (28)
48. JORGE LORENZO FIAT YAMAHA (20)
50. SYLVAIN GUINTOLI TEAM ALICE (25)
52. JAMES TOSELAND YAMAHA TECH 3 (27)
56. SHINYA NAKANO HONDA GRESINI (30)
65. LORIS CAPIROSSI RIZLA SUZUKI (34)
69. NICKY HAYDEN REPSOL HONDA (26)

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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