The saga of Nicky Hayden’s search for a Moto GP ride has finally ended, with the American landing a two-year deal with the Aspar team. The Power Electronics-sponsored team is dropping its Aprilia CRT machines and switching to the new-for-2014 Honda customer Moto GP machine.
Team owner Jorge Martinez said, “It is great news for the Power Electronics Aspar Team to have the acquired services of Honda and a rider of the profile of Nicky Hayden. We are taking a huge step forward in terms of quality, prestige and image. We have grown a lot in a short space of time and we are all very excited about this new project with Honda.”
The team plans to use the spec Magneti Marelli ECU software rather than proprietary bits and bites from Honda, so they’ll get an advantage in fuel and the number of engines allowed for the season.
The outfit is currently running Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet, with the Spaniard firmly on course to claim the overall honours for CRT runners for the second consecutive season. Espargaro is moving to the Tech 3 Yamaha team in 2014, while de Puniet is expected to work full-time as a development rider with Suzuki for their projected 2015 return.
There is a second rider planned, with a number of contestants from Eugene Laverty in WSB to Hiroshi Aoyama. The betting currently is on Aoyama, a long-time Honda rider and associate.
The entries for 2014’s Moto GP grid are almost settled now, and we’ll provide an update on that soon when the final bits fall into place.
Speaking just before the official announcement, Hayden said: “I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. It’s a production bike and of course I’d prefer the factory Honda but we’ve got to understand how competitive this bike can be. I love the team and from what I’ve heard from Honda about it.”