2012 Sachsenring MotoGP Thursday Round Up - On Rider Changes, And Rossi, Pedrosa And Crutchlow

Silly Season has hit full swing in Germany, not just for the MotoGP class but for the support classes as well. And while movements in MotoGP are mainly about what is happening next year, in Moto2 and Moto3 - and even among the CRT machines - there is some serious rider swapping going on for the rest of this season.

In MotoGP, the next two key movements just got a lot closer. Dani Pedrosa is now very close to staying with the Repsol Honda team, telling Spanish journalists that he would sign a new two-year contract with HRC either here in the Sachsenring or at Mugello at the latest. His priority had been to stay on a bike he felt he could win with, telling the Spanish newspaper ABC earlier this week that Honda and Yamaha had been his only realistic options. The Ducati, he said rather pointedly, was more something a rider might consider before their retirement.

With Pedrosa just days away from signing with Repsol Honda, and Marc Marquez almost certain to be placed alongside him, options are starting to close up for those still seeking a seat. But Pedrosa's signing would make no difference to Valentino Rossi, the former World Champion told the Italian media. "I never had any contact with HRC, so going there was never a possibility for me," Rossi said, despite rumors in the English-language media that placed the Italian in the Repsol team.

The probability of Rossi staying at Ducati seems to have increased with Pedrosa's signing at Repsol. The Italian's options are limited: a satellite Honda at Gresini is a possibility, but given HRC's reluctance in the past to allow a satellite bike to beat their factory Repsol team - mainly because of the trouble that would cause for their agreement with Repsol, who pay an eight-figure sum to back the factory Honda team - that would make it difficult for Rossi to get back to winning again, the aim he has continually stated throughout all contract talks.

The factory Yamaha team is certainly a possibility, the rumors increased by the deafening silence emanating from within Yamaha itself. Jorge Lorenzo has already said that he would have no problem with Rossi alongside him, and the Spaniard probably relishes the chance of trying to beat the Italian again on equal machinery, and without the debate over Rossi's shoulder injury which caused many Rossi fans to question Lorenzo's title in 2010.

But Ducati now looks the most likely option for Rossi in 2013, in the hope of turning the Ducati around finally. Rossi told the press that he had had talks with Ducati Corse boss Filippo Preziosi in the week after Assen, after Rossi had criticized Ducati for not having a clear enough plan for development. "I spoke more deeply [with Preziosi] and we have some ideas," Rossi said. Updates would be coming on both the engine and chassis side, Rossi told the press. The new engine - team boss Vitto Guareschi was keen to avoid calling it a new engine, preferring the phrase "rideability improvement package" - should be ready for the Mugello test, after undergoing reliability testing at Mugello and on the dyno, but it will be close. The last part should complete testing next Friday night, Guareschi told me, and be ready just in time for the test the following Monday.

That engine will be important, but there is also a change to the rest of the bike, though Rossi was keen to point out that it was not a revised frame. "It is not a chassis modification, we have some part of the bike with a different shape and a different weight distribution," Rossi said. "This is the first step, also to understand the way to follow next year, if it's the right way to improve the bad feeling that we have." Rossi was at least happy that things were heading the right way again. Asked if he was comfortable with the changes being made, the Italian affirmed that he was. "I am more comfortable now. I think the situation is quite easy, I'm never fast enough with this bike, so we have try to fix this and improve our performance."

The Mugello test and the Laguna Seca weekend, where the parts tried at the Mugello test will get their first run out in a race, are crucial to Rossi's decision about the future, but they will come a little too late for Cal Crutchlow. The Englishman has been told by Ducati that he has to give them an answer by Mugello, according to MCN's Matt Birt, and so Crutchlow cannot wait for Rossi to make his decision, likely to come some time during the summer break, and to be announced around the time of the Brno round of MotoGP. Crutchlow's gamble is simple: he either has to hope that Ducati will show enough progress for him to be competitive - perhaps aided by the resources of Audi, which should start to flow into the company some time next year - or else hope that Rossi stays at Ducati and he gets the call for the factory Yamaha ride. It is a tough choice to make.

At the other end of the grid, changes are likely to start happening in the next couple of races. According to GPOne.com, the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team looks set to drop the Suter BMW project and switch to another chassis, either the FTR Honda machine, which has proven to be very competitive among the CRT bikes in the hands of rookie Michele Pirro, and has already seen several chassis iterations, or else an Aprilia ART machine. Given the price differential - the FTR Honda is probably less than half the price of the Aprilia, and as Pirro has demonstrated, probably as good - the FTR Honda seems the safer bet, Forward having already shelled out to Suter for the project. As Forward recently dropped their Suter Moto2 chassis in favor of FTRs, a switch to an FTR chassis for the MotoGP team seems more likely.

But Forward could perhaps recoup some of their money by passing the Suter bike on - the entire point of the CRT regulations. Danilo Petrucci, of the Came IODA team, is set to test the Suter bike at the Monday test after Mugello, after the IODA bike has yet to prove competitive. The money that IODA would pay for the Suter could allow Forward to cover some of the extra that the Aprilia ART would cost.

The problem that the Suter BMW has - and also, to some extent, the FTR Honda has - is electronics. With just one team developing the electronics, progress is painfully slow. Carmelo Ezpeleta's recent revelation that Dorna was working with Magneti Marelli to introduce a standard ECU for the CRT machines could solve many of these problems.

Changes at Forward could also come in the Moto2 team, where Yuki Takahashi's situation is under threat. The Japanese rider has not performed well this season, and has been comprehensively outperformed by teammate Alex de Angelis. Takahashi is not the only rider out in Moto2: Mike Di Meglio has already lost his seat the Speed Master Moto2 team, due to financial problems. His place will be taken by the Italian Alessandro Andreozzi, who raced last year at Misano on an FTR. Meanwhile, German rider Markus Reitenberger has been drafted in to replace the injured Swede Alex Lundh, though the replacement could become permanent, with Martin Wimmer's MZ-RE team under pressure to score points.

Changes could also come to the BQR team, in both Moto2 and MotoGP. Julian Simon, currently riding a Suter machine in Moto2, could move up to the Avintia BQR MotoGP team, to replace Ivan Silva. Silva has consistently been the last rider on the grid, and has been outperformed by his teammate Yonny Hernandez, the Colombian rider being one of the most exciting riders in MotoGP this season. But Silva has been caught between developing the Inmotec chassis and racing the FTR chassis, and is perhaps getting lost in the confusion.

It's a confusing time in the paddock right now, not just for the question of MotoGP for next season, but also for what will be happening right now. With sponsorship a continuing problem, and competition in the 32-strong Moto2 and Moto3 fields extremely strong, rider lineups will continue to fluctuate from race to race. It should all have sorted itself out soon enough. Well, by Valencia, at the latest ….

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No mention of Nicky....guess Duc is gonna drop/cast aside the only rider that's been fast recently. Hmmmmm.....

HRC's in a quandry! Their only hope of winning the WC is w/Stoner, as Dani has proven he's no match for Jorge or Casey. He can win an occassional race, but there's no way in hell he can beat Jorge over a season. Marquez, in a few years, may/will be challenging for the WC, but no matter how much talent the kid's got, he isn't gonna be on Jorge's tail next year. So, HRC's gotta hope that they can fix their chatter problem and Casey can win this years title, because after that......they could be in another dry spell.

David, ahhhhhh, any comments from Bridgestone/teams/riders on those bologna skins that supposedly were 'race tires'?

Nicky's gotta be feelin' the love from Ducati right now. I seriously hope he's got some good offers from *someone*.

Makes me question who Yamaha is waiting on to fill their 2nd spot on the factory with. Cal? Dovi? Keep Spies? Nicky? Pretty big game of Musical Chairs going on. I feel like Tech3's going to have a situation on their hands if they move up BSmith from Moto2 per his contract. I have serious doubts that he'll put in a SBradl type rookie year (as well as Stefan has been doing this year so far..)

to see so many people dismissing Pedrosa's talent while drooling over Marquez's.
If anything, Dani has a much better record in lower classes than Marquez, seriously, Pedrosa arrived in MotoGP winning 3 world championships in the 3 previous seasons!

I am not sure if Dani can ever be a match for Jorge in MotoGP (he certainly was more than a match in the lower classes) but he clearly demonstrated that smoking everybody in the lower classes does not guaranty you a title in MotoGP.

So let's wait a little bit before handling Marquez the supreme crown, actually let's wait to see if he can beat Dani on the same bike. It could be interesting.

The ceiling to Pedrosa's talent has been pretty well defined over the last 5 seasons - on an equivalent bike he will win 2-4 races from Lorenzo and Stoner, beat the rest of the field and crash occasionally/miss some time with injury. Unless HRC come up with a superb Dani-friendly bike for 2013/2014 he is going to need gobs of luck to beat Lorenzo over a season in the next couple of years. Maybe 3 years ago it would be different for Pedrosa but he seems to have stagnated while Stoner/Lorenzo kept improving.

Marquez still offers some hope for a rider to realistically push Lorenzo - we don't yet know his limits, maybe he can get to that Lorenzo/Stoner level that is the current benchmark. I can't see anyone else offering much hope of a solid challenger for the title before 2015 (Crutchlow? ehhh).

I want a championship that isn't decided till the last race. There is always some surprise out there that no-one sees coming but hoping for Pedrosa to suddenly start winning more consistently than Lorenzo looks like very long odds to me. Marquez just might be good enough to fill the void left by Rossi and Stoner.

Huge gamble by Rossi if he stays and more than a little disappionting. Presiozi has done nothing but talk, are we really to believe that he has gone from having a slight engine upgrade to a raft of new parts over night. He's the king of the tinkerers, still no new frame but more small adjustments? Even for you Phillipe, thinking you got your version of a twin spar perfect first time is a little ambitious. I fear the sport will take a hammering if Ducati rock up with the same issues. Tough choice for cal, and extremely surprised to see Honda throw the towel in for next year already. Are we absolutely convinced the 4 bikes per rule is set in stone????

So what are the chances we end up going from 3 Americans to 0 in MotoGP next year? That seems to be where we're headed. Maybe Schwantz can get both Ben and Nicky on a Suzuki when they come back in 2 years...

Spies goes back to Tech 3. Cal and Rossi to Ducati.

In terms of the CRT's, why doesn't FTR make a chassis that works with a different engine? It sounds like the CBR1000 engine is very far from the optimal design for these rules.

....2nd place to any team mate you put on the sister bike, and thats despite the obvious superior launch/traction control sytem he has on his bike alone.

watch as he doesn't get away first but miraculously makes it to the first bend in front of his team mate by a long way.. weight difference wouldn't account for that. .."the other riders don't know how to put down the power?" ..cmon get real.

Why he should command the best bike in motogp is a mystery, but doesn't make a difference because he still can't win and never will win a championship.

I agree pedrosa does have a superior launch control system, but i doubt that even the almighty hrc have the technology to amputate his right hand and infuse his reaction time into their other riders

This is pretty disappointing.

In terms of Honda it really surprises that they are likely to sign Pedrosa as their title challenger. Lorenzo must be sitting in his motorhome laughing his arse off. Stop everything and just give Lorenzo the 2013 title now!

Seriously, it's like Rubens Barrichello or Felipe Massa being signed as the lead driver in F1!!

Ducati - 2 years of talk, talk... do I really have to listen to year number 3 of their garbage. I'd rather saw my own arm off.

I hope Rossi doesn't automatically default to Ducati, he should really explore or think hard about other options. It will be a sad end to his career. I can't see Ducati providing anything as competitive as the Honda or Yamaha.

You're actually being kind to Ducati. 2 years? Their bike has had issues much longer than that.

I'd be surprised if the CRT bikes aren't beating the satellite Ducati bikes later this year and the factory Ducati bikes next year.

Forbes this year ranked Rossi again as one of the world's highest earners. Tell Ducati to beat it, get Ezpeleta to find a 5th factory/customer bike and push Rossi to make an investment in the sport that has been very good to him (yea, i know he has been good to MGP) and start his own team. I am growing very tired of Ducati sucking hind tit.

I think rossi could very well be going back to yamaha, since he's left the team has been very sucessful but they've been losing sponsors left right and center.
The bean counters at yamaha HQ must be wondering how they can get a big title sponsor back again. Rossi may just be the answer to that.
At the end of the day motogp is a business and money talks louder than hurt feelings or autobiographys

When has Rossi hurt anyone at Yamaha other than Jorge Lorenzo?

That has been the most amicable divorce if there ever has been one between a rider and a factory.

And if i remember correctly, Masao even said that the doors of Yamaha will always be open for Rossi.

I was under the impression that the yamaha top brass weren't too pleased with rossi when he left, both parties had to be nice to save face, but i feel yamaha thought that rossi was a bit disloyal.

You're right to pick me up on the autobiography comment tho, i was confusing yamaha for honda. my bad.

Rossi is just waiting to see if Ducati does what they say this time! It would be best for him and especially his crew to move back to Honda or Yamaha. Rossi needs to mend the fences (with Honda and/or Yamaha) and think of the bigger picture rather than his italian pride. Rossi is no match for Jorge on equal machinery now after 2+ years off a japanese MotoGP bike. Burgess and crew need to tell Rossi to end his and their careers on a high note like Casey Stoner! I guess HRC would rather let Jorge get another title or two than to let Rossi back in the fold! They are all silly... in my opinion... too much pride in the way out there! And the Americans? As an American, I hope they don't get shafted any further! Only stellar results starting now will have them on competitive bikes next season! Maybe Carmelo can step in to help. Both Spies and Hayden must be feeling some-kinda-way right now! That Repsol bank account must be rather large still for Honda to keep Dani after all these years of NOT being a title contender!

If Dani didn't have the backing of Repsol, and was Spainish, he'd be gone! I'm not a Dani hater, but its amazing that he's been in that seat, for 6+ years, w/NO WC, while Nicky WON the WC and was tossed down the road. Anybody else would be GONE! Must be nice to have that kind'a 'HP'! Oh well, that's life in the 'fast lane'!

Rossi: he needs to swallow his pride and look where he's at--ZOMBIE LAND!!! IMHO Ducait does what they want, regardless of what the riders are telling them. Their ego's inflated to epic proportions, due to the sheer talent of Casey and they figured it was all due to their engineering genius. WRONG!!! They ran him off, hired Rossi, and figured everything would be back to normalacy, w/the red bike out front. The small problem with the bike would be fixed in a race or two and ....... Two years later, they're still in 'zombie land' with absolutely nothing on the horizon. Rossi needs to get on a competitive bike, regardless of the pay, and try to finish his career w/podiums!

As I posted earlier, HRC is looking somewhat 'average'. With Casey leaving at the end of the year, Jorge must be licking his chops! The team o Dani/Marquez won't come close to pushing Jorge much in 2013. Yes, Dani will win a few races, but he can't compete with Jorge on a continual basis. So, who is gonna step up and push Jorge in '13/'14? Hmmmm......I don't really see anyone stepping up because Jorge is gonna get better.

Look at his career. 6 wins in 2009, 2 wins in 2010 (both on competitive bikes) and then 2011 with zero wins and no apparent likelihood, short of a miracle, of any wins this year. Based on the statistics alone, his career was starting to slow even when he had a competitive bike.
Why would HRC bring Vale back when there is a raft of new talent coming through? IMHO he is yesterday's man, and should retire and go rallying or F1. Maybe try to be the next John Surtees and win an F1 title to add to his silverware.......
I suppose, at a stretch, Honda could take him and run an advertising campaign.....something like (picture Vale on a Fireblade):
"When all you want to do is ride the best. Honda."

I must confess I am eager to see what Crutchlow can really do with the Ducati,after all he's talked. If he fails, he will be featured in The List too...then there's no dobut the bike is the problem.

If Danni hadn't had the accident with Marco (Marco's move was ambitious to say the least), and Stoner (who can beat any of them on identical equipment) hadnt of taken a ride at Repsol, who would've won it? Honda will have done the math and then offered Dani a two year contract. Its obvious, but without a title in this contract term it will be his last.

Seeing that Lorenzo finished ahead of Pedrosa 2 out of 3 races before the accident I'm not at all sure that eliminating Stoner at Repsol and Pedrosa's injury gets Dani a title in 2011.

If Cal fails on the bike, then there's no doubt the bike's the problem? How many 'failures' does one need to pin the problem on the BIKE? The ONLY, repeat, ONLY, rider that has tamed that bike is retiring at the end of the year. The list ot talent that has signed with Ducati and went nowhere iis long! And with Rossi's failure.....quite frankly, as far as I"m concerned, that's the last nail in the lid! Unless there is a massive change in 'thinking', whoever signs with 'em is signing his 'career death warrant'.

BTW....I have a 2011 Multi Strada, so I''m NOT a Ducati hater!

Is the reason Nicky's time is limited at Ducati a function of his ability to ride faster than Rossi on most weekends? Rossi is the marketing powerhouse Ducati / Marlboro want to associate with. Nicky's sold bikes in the US, but that bump is there now. I doubt it will increase w/o a title by Nicky. Why would Rossi want Nicky there once the bike works the way he wants it to? If Nicky beats him on "his" bike, then there is a stain on the Rossi story. Just my conspiracy, but I've not read that somewhere yet.

"Yonny Hernandez, the Colombian rider being one of the most exciting riders in MotoGP this season."

Any chance of some expansion on this praise? As a TV only viewer he is a rarely seen CRT number on a screen for me this year in MotoGP.

As usual, great article and I thank you David.

Do the people commenting read other comments? Or do any research? Or watch Motogp?
"... his (Rossi) career was starting to slow even when he had a competitive bike."
He severely broke his leg that season and was expected to be out for 6 months, the only reason his speedy recovery wasn't made into a bigger deal was because Depuniet did almost the same thing and recovered faster (props to him). Even Lorenzo (nicknamed "the ego" by some) has said famously that he never beat Rossi on even equipment.
"...and Stoner (who can beat any of them on identical equipment)..." evidence please.....
Don't get me wrong, although I don't particularly enjoy listening to him, I sincerely hate to see Stoner go as his is amazing to watch. Stoner fans rant and cuss about people saying Rossi is the GOAT and then they pull out stuff like this. BLAAAAH
"Rossi is no match for Jorge on equal machinery now after 2+ years off a japanese MotoGP bike. " Really? Do we have evidence of this either? Again, BLAAAAAAH

To me, the obvious answer is usually the right one.
Rossi: He is a cocky motherf$*&er and always has been, he looked at the Duc, talked to Jerry and took a chance like he had already done before. The difference being that Preziosi et al somehow have bigger egos then Rossi, and were too stubborn to listen to a 7 time world champ. What's that mean for the future? I think Rossi will go elsewhere and IF the Duc is meant to win again then it is gonna be a while.
Cal: He is older and his stock is at it's highest. He wants the factory ride for the money and the gamble that he might mesh with the bike better then others. Another satellite ride for 2 years will get him nowhere but back to WSBK. There is too much Moto2 talent and he knows it.
HRC: Regardless of what people think about Pedro he is a fast and talented rider, and the closest thing to an alien (ohhhhh how people love that term) that is out there right now. Stoner got them the 2011 title, so maybe throw a youngster a ride and see what Dani has left in the tank? All the while throwing some serious R&D into the bike in the off season. It's the safe bet, and the stubborn bet as Honda won't want to mend fences with anyone.
Spies: WTF....... This is my guy! This is the guy I root for! It hurts me deep! I desperately hope he can spin things around and SOON. We know he is fast and capable, but is he the elite material? I want to see him mad like when he was battling Mladin, THAT was awsome. If anything I think he gets atleast 1 year at Tech 3 next year though, Bradley Smith isn't ready, or might not ever be to be honest, though he is young yet.


Re your riposte:
"Do the people commenting read other comments? Or do any research? Or watch Motogp?
to part of my comment "... his (Rossi) career was starting to slow even when he had a competitive bike."

I have been following GPs and IOM since 1960, so spare me the patronising attempts to dismiss the facts.
Look at the stats, the year BEFORE Rossi broke his leg he only had 6 wins. His career peaked 2001 to 2005 where he scored 3 years with 11 wins and 2 years with 9. Six wins are less than nine. Do you have a trouble with math, chee??? Or doing your own research???
Put Rossi's wins in a spreadsheet and then do a trendline, and see what it tells you.
Not doing my own research??? Pot calling kettle..............

You can call me what you want, spreadsheets don't tell the whole story. You may have been watching for a long time and be very offended, which is unfortunate, but I stand by my assertion that disregarding a broken leg makes no sense, it was huge factor and the way I read your statement you were using 2010 to prove your point. I realize that you have a point, but it was made to look sharper when you oerlooked the facts and only looked at the spreadsheets. I don't know you or your background obviously, but to say he was on a downward slope in 09 when he won the championship is a bit misleading is what I am saying.

I quote "but given HRC's reluctance in the past to allow a satellite bike to beat their factory Repsol team - mainly because of the trouble that would cause for their agreement with Repsol, who pay an eight-figure sum to back the factory Honda team - that would make it difficult for Rossi to get back to winning again, the aim he has continually stated throughout all contract talks."

Well does this suggest that things are RIGGED in MotoGP? It certainly reads that way when the factories won't allow a satellite bike to beat their factory bikes. Piss bloody weak.

Another great insight into the going ons behind the scenes David.

I only believe half of what that man is saying. There seems to be a message behind the words coming out of his mouth. Maybe I am wrong, but it sounds like he is telling Ducati, "If the changes made are not good enough. I am out of here." That man is a master at manipulating the press and public opinion.

I bet HRC is open to talking to him, and might be after the way he did the move to Yamaha and then Ducati. Yamaha may take him for the sheer amount of money he could brin., Ducati seem like they to show and go more than say. I do not see that man on a Satellite bike. But in reality, he could win or at least get close to winning on a satellite Honda or Yamaha. Both bikes are better than the factory Ducatis.

Sad to say, but Ducati have really gone so wrong in Motogp. They are my FAVORITE motorcycle company.... but they are proving why Rossi did not go to them back when he left Honda. He said back then that they seemed to have the same mindset as Honda, (at that time, they have changed their tune after losing for YEARS.) Honda, with Off Road and Road Racing teams just had a superiority complex. Believing it was the bike, not the rider. Rossi was not the only one that suffered from this. Supercross and Motocross Champions have left stating the same issue. Honda used to care very little for the riders, and feel that it is the bike, not the rider.

Fast forward a few years, as Honda have lost to other factories on several fronts from Off Road to Road. Lost their status as the ultimate bike and all the sudden they are listening to feedback, scrabbling for the right riders. Ducati, may have to learn a hard lesson like Honda already has to make them change their ways. There is no way they make such a superior Superbike, then make a Motogp bike that is so plagued with one problem in particular......vague front end. I refuse to believe they do not have the brainpower, the engineering, to be able to get to at least be somewhat better. Their engine has good power, and they say they are working on the delivery of that power, but it seems like they should be devoting a good 80% of their focus to that front end issue.

I am no engineer, and I know Ducati employee list for the whole factory is probably the size of Hondas Motogp Race Development Dept. But this level of failure, which started back when Casey was with them, is too much. For my money, at this point, it probably will not be turned around enough to keep Rossi. It it does, bravo. If not, no surprise, just waiting to see where Rossi pops up at.

If you take Dorge out of the equation the next fastest guy out there is Dani
I dont remember any rider moving up to the top class and not crashing in their first year.
the way marquez rides I would asume he is going to crash hard. and if he breaks like Dani he might miss a bit of the season.
Im not trying to put Marc down as a rider. h is outstanding. but untried on a GP bike.
If you were the team boss of HRC your best bet still has to be Dani.
as for competing with Jorge
What happens when they sort out the chatter. that Honda is more than a match for the Yamaha.
And Im a Yamaha fan.
To me it looks like Ben has had a lot of bad luck. But I would still keep him over Dovi and Cal.
Just because Casey is leaving doesnt mean the haters need to move onto Dani.
Watch closely at his riding. the guy is unbelievably quick. that why he running at the front end !

It's simple really.

Jorge, 3rd year in Motogp = world championship

Dani, 6 years in Motogp = still a bridesmaid

Even Nicky Hayden has a world championship.

Case closed.

What a mess. Even though we're losing one, I figure there's still 7 aliens capable of getting within 10 secs of the winner and getting podiums but only 4 bikes capable of doing that on a regular basis. The sport needs all of Rossi, Spies, Hayden, Crutchlow, Dovi, Pedrosa on competitive bikes but apparently there's only 3 rides left. And if we give one of those to Marquez, that's only 2 rides.

Then there's at least another 5 people waiting in the wings who may well be able to do this but have never had the chance to show what they can do on a competitive bike or are still (will be) just starting at in MotoGP.

"Jorge Lorenzo has already said that he would have no problem with Rossi alongside him, and the Spaniard probably relishes the chance of trying to beat the Italian again on equal machinery, and without the debate over Rossi's shoulder injury which caused many Rossi fans to question Lorenzo's title in 2010."

You skipped the broken leg that caused him to miss 4 rounds.

That really would be a turn up for the book! I'd like to see it though. Although Jorgeous Jorge would still be fave for the title, I think there may be some right hum-dinging races on the way!

I can't believe that Rossi really wants to spend the rest of his career wondering how he can overtake Hector Barbera for 8th, but of course if there's no other option, he's lumbered and will have to hope the next modified set of modified spark plugs gaps or whatever they haven't tried yet turns up trumps! Please Cal, only go to Duc if the money makes it worth it for your pension (then I don't blame you). Otherwise stick with the Yam if you want better results.

Well done to 'maritime master' Dani for getting his HRC ride though.

I think jorge would love to prove that he is better than Rossi. One factor no one talks about when they enter into this stoner/rossi/lorenzo/pedrosa fray is the relative importance of the crew chiefs. It is no longer a given that the best crew chief in the circuit is Burgess. Clearly, his comments over the years prior to moving to ducati were not helpful. His set up on Rossi's bike this season is relegated to copying Hayden's settings. After the creation of the wall in the Yamaha garage, Rossi's set up wasn't better--albeit he had the shoulder injury.

Burgess is a legendary crew chief, but his wife is ill, and he has been doing this for a very very long time. Perhaps he is more ready to quit than rossi.

If HRC don't sign Pedrosa up again they won't have an experienced team member to help Marquez get up to speed. Losing one team member is bad enough. Losing both at once is too big a loss of knowledge and experience.