Most people will agree that the best route to MotoGP is via the Moto3 Junior World Championship that is predominantly based in Spain. Having done well in British Superbikes, for example, one of the obvious next steps is to enter the FIM CEV Repsol series in Spain.
The FIM CEV Respol website proudly boasts it is “…the perfect stepping-stone for riders across the globe to get onto the world stage.” The CEV Repsol website also points out “90% of the permanent riders in the Moto3 World Championship have come from the FIM CEV Repsol.”
The CEV is currently the place to be to get to MotoGP level, I don’t think many people would argue with that. Most people will think about a year or possibly two in the European Talent Cup and then stepping up to the Moto3 Junior World Championship and hopefully attracting attention from those in the full World Championship.
A Moto3 ride on a competitive bike in the Junior World Championship will probably set you back between 150,000 and 200,000 euros. That is for a 12 race series.
That’s a huge sum of money and a lot of pressure on a young rider. Don’t get injured at a round with two races either because you can kiss goodbye to a good points tally at the end of the season. You’ll need to start thinking about next year and where the next 150,000 to 200,000 euros will come from.
Is there could be an alternative to this bankrupting route?
If you don’t have a quarter of a million euros, then you could look at the Moto2 European Championship. It is all about getting noticed right? What if you could put in some good performances on a 600cc machine in the CEV. There are a number of riders that have moved across from the Moto2 European Championship to the Moto2 World Championship.
Xavi Vierge. He was runner up in 2015 to Edgar Pons for the Targobank Motorsport team. He replaced Ricky Cardus at Tech 3 in the Moto2 World Championship that year. Vierge rode for the Dynavolt Intact GP team in 2018 finishing 11th and will race for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 in 2019, alongside Alex Marquez.
Edgar Pons also rode at World championship level, although he was dogged by an illness at the time. Jesko Raffin, this year’s winner has previously ridden at World Moto2 level and may have put himself in a good position for a ride in 2019.
In 2015 Luca Marini ended the season fifth before moving to the Forward Racing team in 2016 in the Moto2 World Championship. The 21-year-old moved to Sky Racing Team VR46 in 2018 finishing 7th in the championship.
Hector Garzo made three Moto2 World Championship appearances for the Tech 3 team in 2018. Augusto Fernandez has raced the last two seasons at World level. Ekky Dimas featured, so has Macrcon Tommaso, Xavi Cardelus, and Lukas Tolovic.
Eric Granado won in 2017 and went on to ride for Forward Racing, before they unceremoniously pushed him out. Steven Odendaal is also a previous winner and last year rode for NTS RW Racing GP along with Joe Roberts who ended the 2017 European Moto2 season in fifth place.
How do you get a ride in Moto2?
Stuart Nicholls has a hand built British Moto2 machine that he is looking to enter into the Moto2 European Championship in 2019, if he can find the right rider. The Nykos Project featured in a few rounds of the championship last year and took its first point at the final round in Valencia.
He rode at 125cc level across Europe before focusing on setting up and building bikes for other people. As that progressed he ended up working with the QUB Team of Aprilia, Sabre Sport and Marlboro Yamaha at GP level.
He was never a trophy hunter himself. He rode where he thought he would improve so often skipped rounds of one championship because he had an opportunity in another at a higher level. This is perhaps why he is concentrating on putting his Moto2 machine in the Spanish based CEV Repsol championship.
Nicholls said, “ I have tried to position myself in the Spanish championship. They [the riders] are in the shop window. I love the Motostar side of things but I think if there is a rider showing a turn of speed that they should, if they can, try and keep pushing to that next level and learn from arguably some of the best riders in the world.”
Speaking with Nicholls he tells us the cost to ride the Moto2 machine is a fraction of the vast sums to capture a top draw Moto3 ride. Whilst the bike might not reach the front row of the grid yet, a quality rider putting in a good shift on the machine might just get noticed. Scoring regular points in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 series may be seen by teams and managers rather than crossing the line in the mid-20s in the Moto3 Junior World Championship.
Nicholls started making chassis using RSW125 Aprilia just to see if he could do it. Then the Moto3 came along and with it the cost. Nicholls said, “The KTM was obviously the thing to have but then of course what happened, in my opinion and which I was trying to avoid, the cost just snowballed. The normal working person, which I constantly remind organisers’ of, are people that are going racing in BSB or Spanish and even Grand Prix and they are doing it from their own money. “
Nicholls continued,” I thought well the Moto3, as much as I love the young part of that, is again out of reach for many, especially when you start going to Spain. So I thought the CBR600 is a cheap engine to run, the brief of the championship is good and I’ve learnt how to make a chassis. May be the CBR600 Moto2 will be the way for these riders to stick themselves in the shop window, rather than trying to get into the [Moto3] World Junior Championship. You know if it is not with Estrella Galicia or similar you probably haven’t got a chance in the world and you are probably spending one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand euros trying.”
Moto2 Nykos Racing Project in the points at Valencia
Stuart Nicholls wants to return to the championship in 2019 with the Moto2 Nykos Racing project and if he could do it with a British rider he would. “It would be nice to have a British rider. I had a Dutch lad on it at the last round of the season, who hadn’t ridden for a year and a half. […] He hadn’t been training. He had been concentrating on a new business venture. So I said ‘There is no pressure. Let’s go and do the Friday and see how you feel. If you feel Ok let’s do Saturday and if you don’t qualify it doesn’t matter, there is no pressure’, because I think he was beginning to think what have I done.’”
Nicholls continued, “ I’ve got to say he was brilliant. He did me proud. He qualified and he was in the points. The whole point of my bike, compared to the two hundred grand Kalex’s etc, is to have a bike for the dad and the lad to go racing with. That’s how it is at Motostar, to have a bike that can go to a Spanish championship, qualify easily enough, race, learn the tracks, learn the craft and learn the techniques […] and do it on a bike, like a CBR600, on which you can just do as many miles as you want.”
Nicholls finished off by saying, “Nelson Rolfes [the Dutch rider at Valencia who rode the Nykos] proved the whole point of my bike really. That you could turn up and qualify despite not having had ridden for a year and a half. He was having a serious ride, helping me with feedback and development rather than concentrating on lap times and he still achieved a points finishing position”
Want to be a part of Moto2 Nykos Racing Project?
Sound interesting? Could this be a cheaper alternative to race in the Spanish series and perhaps make it to the World Championship levels?
Want to be part of the Moto2 Nykos Project? You can contact Stuart Nicholls via his website http://nykosracing.co.uk/
or email firstname.lastname@example.org