Every rider deserves the chance to follow a road as long and wide as their talent allows. At least, that's how it would be in a perfect world. 

Earlier this year, I was speaking to my racing coach about the lack of diversity in MotoGP, and in particular, the lack of riders from the US. There's no shortage of tracks in the States, and racing takes money, which is something there's also plenty of in the USA. So why haven't we had a US MotoGP rider since Nicky Hayden? The answer: There's no feeder system.

Nicky Hayden came to MotoGP straight after winning an AMA Superbike championship, but that doesn't happen anymore. Those days are gone. Realistically, if you're not coming through Moto3 and Moto2, you're not getting a shot at MotoGP. But even securing a place in Moto3 or Moto2 is incredibly difficult and nearly impossible if you don't go to race in the Red Bull Rookies Cup—a series filled with European riders.

Soon, young, talented riders from the US will have the opportunity to get closer than ever to MotoGP, thanks to the MotoAmerica Talent Cup.

The Talent Cup is a partnership between MotoGP and MotoAmerica and is part of the "Road To MotoGP" program. It'll replace MotoAmerica's Junior Cup class and use bikes that are more in line with the models used in the Red Bull Rookies Cup and Moto3. The class is open to riders aged 14-21 years old.

 

"We know racing high-performance motorcycles provides our young athletes more opportunities and better prepares them to race at higher levels on the ‘Road to MotoGP,’ ” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “This is the first time MotoAmerica has created a class for our young riders that's on the same performance-level bike as other ‘Road to MotoGP’ Talent Cups worldwide. MotoAmerica was founded on the very idea of racing Moto3-type motorcycles, and now we’re finally making that concept a reality. I'm really excited because up to five riders will get an invitation to participate in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup selection. My MotoAmerica partners are also excited to provide our younger riders this opportunity.”

Riders in the Talent Cup will mount the Krämer APX-350 MA, which makes more than 50 horsepower, weighs less than 255 pounds (wet), features fully adjustable chassis and suspension, and runs on Dunlop tires. More details about the bike and additional images will be released in August. The bike will sell for $22,495 and is expected to arrive in the US in mid-February of 2025.

“Krämer Motorcycles is proud to be the spec-bike supplier of the MotoAmerica Talent Cup and to help the next generation of American road racers on their path to the world stage,” said Jensen Beeler, CEO of Krämer Motorcycles USA. “Together with our partners in MotoAmerica, we believe we have created a machine that will elevate motorsport for American riders and be the tool that readies racers for the Red Bull Rookies Cup, FIM Moto3 World Championship, and beyond.”

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But the question is, where do riders go from the MotoAmerica Talent Cup? Well, for starters, up to five MotoAmerica Talent Cup riders per year will receive invitations to try out for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup selection. Even riders who aren't successful in getting through to the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup have a better chance of getting their names out there and entering a European series. 

“I could not be happier than when I saw that finally we will have a real “Road to MotoGP” in the United States next year,” said FIM President Jorge Viegas. “We need more talented American pilots, and this is the way. MotoAmerica will allow young talents to climb all the steps until reaching MotoGP and the FIM can only applaud this initiative.”

These are the kinds of initiatives that keep me hopeful for the future of racing. If run correctly, I do not doubt that this Talent Cup will result in more riders from the US straddling MotoGP bikes. And I hope it'll operate as a roadmap for other countries to implement the same style of feeder system.

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