MotoGP grid falls to 22 bikes for 2016

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The MotoGP grid will fall from 26 bikes to 22 for the 2016 season following the departures of the Forward Racing and AB Motoracing teams, as confirmed by the publication of the provisional entry list.

In a statement issued by the FIM, motorcycle racing’s governing body, on Saturday, it was confirmed that the grid would fall by four bikes.

All of the leading factory teams will provisionally race with the same line-up once again in 2016, with the only team changes coming towards the back of the field.

Loris Baz of Forward Racing has already agreed a deal to join Avintia Racing in 2016, while Jack Miller will move from LCR Honda to join Marc VDS Racing.

Miller will take over from Scott Redding, who moves to Octo Pramac Racing as Yonny Hernandez replaces the WSBK-bound Nicky Hayden at Aspar.

As confirmed earlier this year by the FIM, the factory and open classes will merge for 2016, while Michelin becomes MotoGP’s sole tire supplier following Bridgestone’s withdrawal.

Here is the provisional entry list in full, as published by the FIM on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s 2015 season finale in Valencia.

2016 MotoGP provisional entry list

Andrea Dovizioso – #4 Ducati
Stefan Bradl – #6 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Hector Barbera – #8 Avintia Racing
Danilo Petrucci – #9 Octo Pramac Racing
Alex de Angelis – #15 IodaRacing
Alvaro Bautista – #19 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Maverick Vinales – #25 Team Suzuki Ecstar
Dani Pedrosa – #26 Repsol Honda
Andrea Iannone – #29 Ducati Racing
Cal Crutchlow – #35 LCR Honda
Bradley Smith – #38 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Aleix Espargaro – #41 Team Suzuki Ecstar
Jack Miller – #43 Marc VDS Racing
Pol Espargaro – #44 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Scott Redding – #45 Octo Pramac Racing
Valentino Rossi – #46 Movistar Yamaha
Eugene Laverty – #50 Aspar
Tito Rabat – #53 Marc VDS Racing
Yonny Hernandez – #68 Aspar
Loris Baz – #76 Avintia Racing
Marc Marquez – #93 Repsol Honda
Jorge Lorenzo – #99 Movistar Yamaha

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”