MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro launches junior team

MotoGP CRT ace Aleix Espargaro will field his own team in Spain's CEV Repsol championship, a major feeder series into grand prix racing

MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro launches junior team

The team will run KTM machinery and has already signed a deal to run 17-year-old Spaniard Gabriel Rodrigo, who scored a breakthrough podium in the series this year.

KTM bikes have prevailed in four of this year's eight races.

Espargaro said he had initially expected to start a team either later in life or lower down the grand prix racing ladder, but that the CEV opportunity had proved too good to resist.

A number of MotoGP riders cut their teeth in the championship including Marc Marquez, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl - champions in 2003 and '07 respectively), Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone.

Aleix and brother Pol, who will step up into MotoGP in 2014 after winning this year's Moto2 crown, triumphed in CEV in '04 and '06 respectively.

"This is an idea I have always had," Espargaro explained, "perhaps for later, when I retired, but now we have been presented with an opportunity and decided to take it up.

"The initial thought was to start from below, with the Copa de España, but the impact of the CEV Repsol allows us to really get the concept into motion.

"The idea is to organise a structure around two young and fast riders, with the intention of winning the CEV championship, and if possible to give them a world championship race as a wildcard.

"Even though my professional commitments take priority, I always like to surround myself with bikes, so if I am able to use my experience to enhance the careers and up-and-coming riders, all the better for it."

Espargaro's announcement follows news that Valentino Rossi will field a team in Moto3 next year in a partnership with Sky Italia.

Espargaro moves from Aspar to Forward Racing next year, where he will ride a non-factory Yamaha.

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