The two-year contracts that all four of the MotoGP Aliens signed during 2010 have made for a very quiet silly season, with speculation on who will be riding where next season taking a very long time to get started. There are a number of reasons for this - talks about contracts have been lost in the general commotion surrounding the two big topics of 2011: Rossi's struggle with the Ducati Desmosedici and the controversy over whether to race at Motegi or not, and the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami has badly hit motorcycle racing budgets as well - but as we approach the final few races of the 2011 MotoGP season, some movement is starting to be visible on the riders market. So let's take a stroll through what we know for certain, have a look what we think is likely and glance into the crystal ball of MotoGP's future, which comes in the shape of the Claiming Rule Teams.
What We Know
There are a few things we know for certain in 2012: the three major factory squads will remain unchanged for next season, as all six riders are in the second year of a two-year contract. Karel Abraham has a Ducati for 2012, the Tech 3 line-up has been finalized, and Simoncelli is back with Gresini with HRC support again for another year. Colin Edwards has taken the plunge as the first official rider for a CRT entry, but beyond that, it is mostly speculation. Here's what we know for sure: