Any illusions that Jorge Lorenzo may have cherished that he could still use his talks with Honda as leverage in his negotiations with Yamaha have now finally gone out of the window. At Brno, HRC boss Tetsuo Suzuki gave a press conference to announce that Honda had signed both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso to new contracts with the factory team.
The two-year deals for both Dovizioso and Pedrosa mean that there is no room for Lorenzo at Honda, a fact confirmed by Tetsuo Suzuki. The HRC president confirmed that Honda had had talks with Jorge Lorenzo, but that they hadn't been able to conclude a deal with the Spanish star. Any suggestion that Honda could lay on a third full factory bike for Lorenzo were rejected as "impossible" by the HRC boss. No reference was made to the Repsol sponsorship deal, which is expected to be concluded at the end of this weekend, although he did confirm that there would not be any budget cuts at HRC next year.
In addition to the deals with Pedrosa and Dovzioso, Tetsuo Suzuki covered a number of other subjects. One of the most interesting was that HRC are studying the option of fielding a 7th bike next season (presumably as a result of pressure from Dorna), one up from their current quota of 6. This fuels speculation that Honda will find a way to run Hiroshi Aoyama in MotoGP next year. Having the current 250cc championship leader on a MotoGP bike would see a Japanese rider back in the championship, something believed to be key to the Japanese factories.
Suzuki-san also had interesting news to add on Marco Simoncelli. The HRC boss insisted that Simoncelli's contract is with Gresini and not HRC, as was widely reported - including here - at the time of Simoncelli's signing. As for the level of support Simoncelli would support, Suzuki-san told reporters that the Italian would be riding a satellite bike, but that HRC's aim was to ensure that the satellite bikes were not very far off the factory-spec machines. The HRC boss implied that Simoncelli's bike would be very similar to those of Dovizoso and Pedrosa, and would "take into account his [Simoncelli's] desire to do well."
When asked about Moto1 or the future of Alberto Puig inside HRC, Tetsuo Suzuki refused to comment.