Livio Suppo: "No One Has Signed Anything Yet"

Within hours of reports appearing on the Sportmediaset website that Casey Stoner has signed for Honda, the denials are starting to come in, as predicted here. - like Sportmediaset an Italian website, but probably the most reliable source of news from Italy - spoke to Honda Racing Corporation's Marketing Manager Livio Suppo, who denied that Stoner had already signed a contract.

"There are four great riders whose contracts are ending," Suppo told, "And it's clear that there will be interest in at least one of them. But at this moment, everyone is talking to everyone, but no one has signed anything."

The story that Casey Stoner would be leaving Ducati to join Honda seems designed, as we suggested before, to be part of a media campaign in Italy to pressure Valentino Rossi into signing with Ducati, a move that SportMediaSet, as the company that broadcasts MotoGP on TV in Italy, would significantly benefit from. Stoner's presence at Ducati would present a formidable, if not quite insurmountable, obstacle to the reigning World Champion switching to the Italian marque. After all, Rossi already has his hands full with his young teammate at Yamaha, and switching to Ducati with an equally strong teammate would be a case of choosing to depart the frying pan to try his luck in the fire. Ideally, Rossi would like to be in a team with fewer distractions from a fast teammate, and joining Casey Stoner at Ducati would not provide him with such an environment.

Whatever happens, it is, as the English like to say before the start of a darts match, game on. The silly season is about to get very torrid indeed over the next two months.

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All these rumors are great to stir the pot up a bit, but what's more interesting to me is what these (if any) changes will mean for the next level riders. Wherever Rossi and Stoner end up, they will run up front. If they do move, what happens to Hayden, Dovi, Lorenzo and Spies? All of these guys have a real shot at stepping it up into next season - so what happens there?

As all this goes on however, there is a little red man sitting on my shoulder right now (no, not Casey) whispering in my ear about how great it would be to see both Lorenzo and Pedrosa on the same team. Just a little entertaining dream.

It seems to start earlier and earlier. Got a good laugh out of dgmandell's comment about a little red man LOL!

Anyway. If Stoner does move to Honda, wouldn't that kill the rumour of him and Livio Suppo being on bad terms? I always thought Suppo defended Stoner in a way that left no room for doubting his loyalty during that time. But for all this after only two races. There is a whole season to go and there is no telling who may pop up and start getting in the mix with the "Aliens". Have to admit though. The Italian Media love to keep it juicy as far as the rumours. They are not always wrong though........... but in this case I have bet it is WAY to early for most if anybody to show their hands yet.

whipped up by a media desperate for some attention. Of course Stoner would talk to Honda - why not? He rightfully deserves to get an indication of his marketability, and he also could feel with some justification that Marlboro have been less than commensurate with his pay cheque to the results he has given them. He would have to have been the cheapest WC in recent memory in 2007 and the kerfuffle about Lorenzo last year was a definite foot-shooting episode for whoever in Marlboro started that whole thing.

I expect Stoner to stay with Ducati but Marlboro need to realise that loyalty is a two-way street.

Mark my words The 2011 Motogp aliens will look like this :

Ducati - Rossi & Hayden (Not Marlboro but FIAT as sponsor - Rossi hates cigarette sponsorship and so do lawmakers)
Yamaha - Lorenzo & Spies (no great analysis needed here)
Honda - Stoner & Pedrosa (Puig has lessened his influence on this team and Suppo loves Stoner)
Suzuki - who cares.

Honda & Stoner makes so much sense ! Stoner is the next Doohan (boring but fast) - just the way Honda like it ! PLUS Stoner has NEVER been Ducatis first pick (no matter what he wins - for the Italians style/marketing comes before results)

I have given you the future front two rows of the grid for next year. No thanks needed but just remember who told you !

but loves money.

He has ridden in the past on bikes splashered with tobacco names and he will do it again.

(btw, Rossi smokes cigarettes once in a while)

Anyway, your front rows make sense.

i'd be willing to bet on either stoner or lorenzo ending up at hrc for next year, most likely with de puniet for a team mate

rossi will stay at yamaha, dani will be the last one to make a move and just have to make do with what seat is available