Aspar Team Close To MotoGP Deal With Ducati

Jorge Martinez, boss of the Aspar team, has made no secret of the fact that he wants to add a MotoGP team to his 125cc and 250cc teams. For years now, he has lobbied the manufacturers to provide him with the bikes that would allow him to realize that dream, and at last, he looks close to sealing a deal.

According to the Spanish sports paper Marca, Aspar is within days of securing a deal which will see the team enter MotoGP for the 2010 season. As ever, Martinez remains cagey about which manufacturer will be supplying the bikes, but he estimated his chances as being 80% Ducati, 20% Honda.

The most obvious path for the Aspar team would be to take over the bike left vacant by the departure of Sete Gibernau's GFH team, but that presents Martinez with two problems: The first is that Aspar is keen to field two bikes, which would allow them to gain as much data as possible, a crucual ingredient for success, as they will have a lot to learn in their debut in the premier class.

The second is similarly intractable. Martinez is keen to take his brilliant young Spanish protege Alvaro Bautista into the MotoGP class, but Bautista has previously expressed a reluctance to ride the Ducati, and more importantly, the Spaniard wants a guarantee of a factory ride, which is generally regarded as the key to success. That would make Suzuki his only option for the 2010 season, as Suzuki are the only factory to have an exemption from the so-called rookie rule, which prevents newcomers from going straight to factory teams.

But Aspar may be able to offer Bautista an escape clause. According to Marca, Ducati boss Livio Suppo is keen to sign the young Spaniard, and is offering a move to the factory Ducati squad in 2011, after a year in the Aspar satellite team.

Martinez is expecting to finalize his plans this week, and hopes to make a final announcement at the British Grand Prix at Donington next week.

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This (from Suppo) is a commentary on Hayden's tenure?  Neither he nor Ducati will want to renew his contract?

This is a commentary on Stoner's durability?

This is a declaration about the intent of a 3rd bike in the factory?

perfectly said. i was just coming here to say the same thing.

although one has to admit that hayden being replaced in 2011 doesn't sound unreasonable.

...this time next year!

If there is a MotoGP, or any form of international motorsport in 2011, Ducati putting Nicky back out on the street will appear as a death wish.  In one year's time, Hayden will be a highly sought after property: the man whose career wasn't killed by Ducati.

but that doesn't mean he'll be at ducati...

unless stoner retires this year...

one could come up with all sorts of theories of why ducati is injecting so much young talent into their program and one of them is that they know stoner is the only one who can win on their bike right now but he's not going to last and they need to put someone in place of him.

but the reality i think is simply that, unlike the japanese manufacturers, ducati is 100% tied to racing as their a big part of their marketing campaign. do you think there's a ducati owner out there who's not aware of wsbk or motogp? otoh, i bet that there's millions on millions of yamaha, suzuki, and honda owners that haven't heard of either.

sp it's a sure bet that ducati's not going away so despite the pain that the gp bike is inflicting on various careers, it's still a very tempting proposition.

not even taking into account their lack of results, would you sign up for the suzuki factory team given what kawasaki did, the rumours earlier this year, and the last gasp re-signing of rizla as a sponsor?


Since those posts, I've heard your thoughts on the podcast.  Stoner retiring wasn't something I'd considered before, so now I understand your point much more clearly.

If, for some reason, Ducati do show Hayden the door, he should be talking to Yamaha...  in case Lorenzo does leave.

i give the rookie rule a couple more months to live. once the silly season is in full swing and the grid looks as scary as we think it will, that rule is going to quietly go away.

i hope

bautista is going to be very hot property. the spanish angle will make it tasty for dorna to push for a recantation...


Stoner retirement talk is all hot air at this point.

Don't think Stoner would be fast as hell on a Honda or Yamaha? Think again.... His deal with Ducati is not signed in blood, he will explore all the options. And there will be options aplenty ($$$).

Not wanting to speak for Jules, talk of Stoner retiring is rooted in a concern about his health.  If he were to not recover his health the rest of this season, he may consider backing away long enough to see if he can recover his health while away from the sport.  This would not be a contractual negotiation ploy.

... all these top guys are tough as nails. I believe if Stoner thinks he can make it to the end of a race, he will race.

Some of these guys race when they can't even walk to and from their bikes. So I do not believe Stoner will retire temporarily or otherwise at the age of 22.

This is the first time he's had the ailment, if it drags through another whole year, then I can see the logic of TALKING about taking time off to heal up. But at his age, it makes no sense to not gut through this season and see if he can heal up completely in the off season.