Which new teams could join the MotoGP grid in the near future?

There will be 24 riders on the grid at the start of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship... but Dorna wants 26 or 28, so which teams could answer that call?

Simone Corsi - MV Agusta Forward F2 Moto2


The countdown to the 2022 MotoGP World Championship is well and truly underway with an expanded field of 12 teams and 24 riders primed for what is expected to be another open run at the title.

New-for-2022, Gresini Racing has broken away from its Aprilia partners to return to MotoGP in a privateer capacity as one of four Ducati teams on the grid, while Moony VR46 Racing will also have a brace of Ducati GP21s at its disposal after taking over from Avintia Racing. 

The healthy grid numbers come ten years after MotoGP introduced controversial ‘Claiming Rule Team’ measures to stem dwindling entries by allowing more cost-effective 1000cc production-engined prototype chassis. 

The format only lasted three seasons but set MotoGP on the path for its current successful era. Now with a new cycle of regulations looming and Dorna targeting grids of either 26 or 28 bikes, which teams could be next to step into the premier class?

Leopard Racing

You can’t move for the presence of myriad energy drink companies sponsoring racing teams but while the likes of Red Bull and Monster certainly set a high standard for what clever product placement can do for your brand, the relatively new Leopard (pronounced Leyo-pard) Racing has has also played its part.

There is no faulting its sporting ambitions with its own Moto3 team, evident sponsorship in touring cars and in cycling too. It has been successful too, winning the Moto3 on no less than three occasions with Danny Kent, Joan Mir and Lorenzo dalla Porta.

Though it has wound up its Moto2 effort, Luxembourg-flagged Leopard Racing - which runs Honda machinery in Moto3 - have indicated MotoGP ambitions in the past and were said to be in the running to assume Avintia Racing’s entry for 2022. That was until Valentino Rossi got involved in the VR46 set-up that eventually took it over, prompting Leopard Racing to step back.

While a brand-new entry might be a stretch if not directly associated with a factory, such as Suzuki or Aprilia, should an existing team be on the way out, expect Leopard to be front of the queue to take it over.

GASGAS

Little-known outside of Enduro and MX circles until a couple of years ago when the Pierer (KTM) group purchased it, GASGAS has bolstered its profile recently with a successful first season of short circuit racing in Moto3 and victory on the Dakar Rally earlier this month.

Indeed, KTM has bold plans for the Spanish company on and off the track, with its first roadgoing models in development, plus an expansion of its racing itinerary.

It will make its Moto2 debut in 2022 an an extension of its Aspar Team backing and now KTM, inspired by Ducati’s expansion to eight entries this season, is mulling adding another pair of RC16s under GASGAS branding.

Technically speaking it will operate as a satellite KTM effort under a new name, though it will still represent a seventh manufacturer under the Spanish flag, which would no doubt please commercial rights holders, Dorna. 

One way of KTM swerving the headache of knowing what to do with an increasing bottleneck of capable youngsters coming through its development programmes - many of which it will lose to rivals if it cannot house them in MotoGP - it also helps that Aspar has significant experience competing in the MotoGP class.

Sic58

There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house if Sic58 Squadra Corse were to make the transition to MotoGP.

Borne from the legacy of the late Marco Simoncelli - who died in an accident during the 2011 Malaysian MotoGP - and headed up by his father Paolo, Sic58 has developed into a very adept racing team.

While it’s modus operandi is primarily to develop fresh Italian talent - hence its placement in Moto3 and MotoE - the team is well-regarded up and down the paddock to the extent that any interest in moving into MotoGP would be greeted with more support and backing than the norm.

Ajo Motorsport

Arguably the most professional and well-financed team outside of MotoGP, Ajo Motorsport would be a shoo-in for a promotion to the premier class were it not, ironically, for its association with KTM.

The Finnish outfit has become an extension of KTM in Moto2 and Moto3, getting all the benefits of a factory entry in terms of finance and well-groomed youngsters, but would be considered less of a priority to the company at MotoGP level.

Should Aspar not go with KTM/GASGAS should it occur then Ajo Motorsport would be next in line, but should its future not be KTM-backed, then Aki Ajo runs a very tight ship on his own anyway. Over time it has won five 125/Moto3 World Championships, plus three Moto2 titles.

American Racing

For a nation with such a rich tradition in the upper echelons of motorcycle racing, it’s notable that you have to go back to 2015 for the last time the United States had a full-time participant in Nicky Hayden.

The reasons for this are multiple but the ambitious American Racing - competing in Moto2 since 2019 - is certainly doing its bit to ensure the stars and stripes are represented in motorcycle competition.

Originally moulded around Joe Roberts - who has since departed for Italtrans - it has succeeded in bringing Cameron Beaubier over to the intermediate class following a dominant spell in MotoAmerica, while the addition of Sean Dylan Kelly will see it form an all-American rider line-up for the first time this year.

MotoGP might represent a significant leap but that favourable nationality could certainly be a great bargaining tool should it ever want to begin talks with manufacturers, while the involvement of ex-MotoGP rider John Hopkins doesn’t hurt either.

Indeed, one could definitely imagine an American Racing Suzuki satellite effort…

MV Agusta

If Dorna had its way, there are still two or three manufacturers it would dearly love to see represented in MotoGP - Kawasaki, BMW and maybe even Triumph - but all three have indicated little desire to commit such investment to a project as this.

However, there is still one well-heeled manufacturer considering its options; MV Agusta.

Following a management overhaul in 2019, MV Agusta has been making a lot of loud noises about its plans for the future, from developing a new range of cost-effective models - a brief it is partially fulfilling with the launch of the new Lucky Explorer ADV twins - returning to the WorldSBK Championship with an all-new F4 and also considering a return to MotoGP.

It would seem rather ambitious for it to achieve all three aims, but it is well placed to potentially go for MotoGP. The firm is already represented in the Moto2 World Championship with the modestly-successful F2 chassis, while the Swiss Forward Racing team that runs the effort does have recent MotoGP experience.

It would also play in very nicely to its heritage from when it was the dominant force in GP during the Giacomo Agostini years, an era that it still trades heavily on with today’s models.

If the backing is there, MV Agusta will be in MotoGP soon.

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