Moto2: Simoncelli to start 2009 as favourite

Reigning 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli will start the new season as favourite to retain the title after the FIM released the entry list for 2009 today

Moto2: Simoncelli to start 2009 as favourite

Despite speculation at the end of the 2008 season that the category could be hit by the poor financial climate, the Italian - who stays with the factory Gilera squad - heads a strong field of 22 riders.

The list also confirms 2008 title contender Alvaro Bautista at Aspar alongside the reigning 125cc world champion Mike di Meglio.

The Frenchman is not the only notable graduate from 125 category either, with Axel Pons moving up into his father Sito's (two-times 250cc world champion and former MotoGP team owner) new squad. He will be joined by 2008 race winner Hector Barbera.

Other graduates include Kenny Roberts' protege Stevie Bonsey who joins Aprilia Madrid and the 2007 125cc world champion Gabor Talmacsi who will race for a new team sponsored by the Hungarian Grand Prix venue Balaton.

There are no factory KTMs on the list following the manufacturer's withdrawal from the sport at the end of the season, but the team's former star Hiroshi Aoyama remains in the category with Scot Racing.

 No Rider Team Bike 4 Hiroshi Aoyama Scot Racing Honda 7 Axel Pons Pepe World Pons Aprilia 8 Bastien Chesaux Racing Team Germany Honda 9 Toni Wirsing Racing Team Germany Honda 10 Imre Toth Team Toth Aprilia Aprilia 12 Thomas Luthi Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia 14 Ratthapark Wilairot Thai Honda Ptt Sag Honda 15 Roberto Locatelli Metis Gilera Gilera 16 Jules Cluzel Matteoni Racing Aprilia 17 Karel Abraham Cardion Ab Motoracing Aprilia 19 Alvaro Bautista Mapfre Aspar Aprilia 21 Hector Barbera Pepe World Pons Aprilia 25 Alex Baldolini Wtr San Marino Team Aprilia 28 Gabor Talmacsi Balaton Racing Aprilia 35 Raffaele de Rosa Scot Racing Honda 41 Aleix Espargaro Campetella Racing Aprilia 48 Shoya Tomizawa Team Cip Honda 51 Stevie Bonsey Aprilia Madrid Aprilia 52 Lukas Pesek Auto Kelly - Cp Aprilia 58 Marco Simoncelli Metis Gilera  Gilera 63 Mike di Meglio Mapfre Aspar Aprilia 75 Mattia Pasini Team Toth Aprilia 
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