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The shuffled settle in

The shuffled settle in

The summer break saw several riders in all three classes shuffled around. Some swapped bikes, while others saw new riders take their seat.

Unfortunately for many riders in the MotoGP™ paddock the mid season summer break is not as relaxing as they would like. Not only do riders and teams negotiate contracts for next year, but many also see themselves looking at changes for the current season. The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix sees several riders line up in new leathers as well as some brand new faces in the paddock.

Perhaps the most high profile move of the break was Stefan Bradl who joins Aprilia Racing Team Gresini after Forward Racing’s team boss encountered legal trouble, making their participation at Indy impossible. Bradl is the third rider this season to mount the second Aprilia machine, Marco Melandri having parted company with Aprilia before the German GP and Michael Laverty briefly stepping in. Melandri struggled all season and Laverty showed sparks but Bradl has started a fire.

With nine races under his belt on the bike, Bautista was always going to be the bar Bradl needed to reach. Bradl has surpassed the bar, beating Bautista on combined times as Friday practice ended. A 1’34.935 saw Bradl finish 0.131s ahead of Bautista, a decent margin considering the German has had only 90 minutes on the Aprilia.

Another highly impressive replacement has been Lorenzo Dalla Porta, brought into the Husqvarna Factory Laglisse squad to replace Isaac Viñales, who was not achieving satisfactory results. Dalla Porta has just a smattering of CEV results to his name and many were sceptical of the Italian’s ability, but he ended Free Practice 2 in 15th and 15th overall. A strong debut, he was just 1.115s from Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing).

Hope was not lost for Viñales when he was replaced, the Spaniard finding refuge with the RBA Racing Team, filling in for the injured Ana Carrasco. Despite some flashes of top five speed early in the day, Viñales ended 17th on combined times, forced to literally watch Dalla Porta ahead on his old bike.

There were also movements in the Moto2™ World Championship as Ricky Cardus found his Tech 3 seat filled by Xavier Vierge. Vierge comes from the CEV series where he also races a Mistral 610, has won multiple races and is in the title fight this season. He is certainly familiar with the bike and tyres, but it was not an easy day learning the new Indianapolis circuit as the young Spaniard finished 2.902 seconds off the pace of Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing).

It’s not just new faces getting their first shot at World Championship glory in Indianapolis, MotoGP™ veteran Toni Elias also makes his return. Elias has recently competed in the Suzuka 8 Hour endurance race, but has otherwise been without a ride for the year. As Karel Abraham is still out injured, his AB Motoracing team have enlisted the highly experienced Toni Elias for the round. Unfortunately ‘Tiger Toni’ last raced a MotoGP™ machine in 2012 and is clearly taking time to adapt, finishing Friday in 23rd. It seems a long time since Elias claimed his Moto2™ World Championship and even longer since we won the infamous Estoril 2006 MotoGP™ race.

MotoGP, 2015, RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX, Toni Elias, Xavi Vierge, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Isaac Viñales, Stefan Bradl

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