Lin Jarvis: "No Decision Yet" On Rossi Replacement

With Valentino Rossi out until after the summer, the race is on to find a replacement. But with MotoGP bikes becoming ever more specialized, that's not as simple as it sounds. Most speculation so far has centered on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, with Colin Edwards the name most commonly linked to the Fiat Yamaha ride. An announcement had been expected to the effect that Edwards would be replacing Rossi on Friday afternoon after FP1 at Silverstone, but the decision is still on hold.

When asked by, both Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis and Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal confirmed that no decision had yet been made. "We have had many, many meetings," Jarvis said, "But we are still not decided."

The problem was the difficulty in finding a suitable candidate, Jarvis said, confirming what Herve Poncharal had told earlier in the week. "Trying to find a replacement is like dominoes," Jarvis explained, pointing out that taking someone from Tech 3 would merely move the problem further along, leaving the difficulty of finding someone else to fill in at Tech 3.

Taking someone from World Superbikes had been one option considered. Cal Crutchlow had been linked to the ride, but the difficulties facing someone coming in from WSBK would be almost insurmountable. "It would be very difficult for them, having to learn the Bridgestones, the tracks, and the Yamaha M1." Moreover, pulling a rider from one championship to ride in the other would also leave Yamaha with a problem filling the ride in World Superbikes.

The problem of replacing Rossi was extremely intractable. "We have considered many, many options," Jarvis said, "But it's a very difficult situation."

Back to top


Called it on Edwards. Why not Andrew Pitt for Tech3? He'd probably jump at the chance and it shouldn't be too difficult to arrange things with his just recently signed for Yamaha BSB team.

That would be entirely legal. In fact, At Mugello, One crew chief pointed out that all they would have to do is enter someone, then sack them before the first practice even starts. That would satisfy the requirements.

David, while watching the Mugello QP online, Gavin Emmett mentioned that the contract with Dorna does not require (temporary) replacement of a rider in the event of injury, and that the pressure to do so instead stems from contracts between sponsors and teams (e.g., the contract between Fiat and Yamaha might stipulate that two bikes/riders are entered at each event).

Subsequent comments from Brivio and Jarvis have referred to their 'obligation' to field a replacement rider (despite Brivio's statement that he would prefer to leave the seat empty until VR returns), but they have not specified the precise source of this obligation. Is it in fact from Dorna or the sponsors (or possibly both)?

As I understand it (from reliable sources who were present when the contracts were first drawn up), the requirement to field a rider after two rounds of absence is part of the commercial contract the team signs when they enter the championship. I believe that contract is with Dorna, but the contracts are drawn up by IRTA, Dorna and the FIM.

However, few people know the actual terms, and even fewer are prepared to talk about it. The terms of these contracts are confidential, though obviously some details are not as closely guarded as others. 

Reality just called; it asked you to give up on the McCoy 'scenario'.

Btw, I also received a text from fantasy land suggesting that--if we're going to consider retired GP racers just for the publicity 'buzz'--we should get Lawson, or KR Sr. or Ago on the bike. In fact, with Rossi closing in on several of his records, Giacomo might jump at the chance to pad his cushion of race wins.

Seriously, though, I'd actually prefer that they just leave VRs seat empty--the team (and sponsors) would get more TV time with the #46 bike just sitting in the box than it would circulating mid pack in the hands of other riders. Likewise, how much is it going to add to the 'show' to have CE (or similar) on the bike riding around for a top 10 finish? As Herve said, it is a difficult seat to fill, indeed.

is that Eddie Lawson, KR Sr. and Giacomo Agostini weren't testing a GP bike a month or so ago.

I think it's a very long shot as well. But if they have a list of riders with experience with carbon brakes and Grand Prix Bridgestone slicks in the last 12 months that are not under contract to another company, it becomes a very short list and he's on it.

neither has McCoy recently tested a motoGP bike. The FB01 that he rode has been deemed "woefully off the pace and FB Corse was told it would need significant further development before it was granted permission to enter the premier class series." At best, it's a 'hopeful' motoGP bike, which I've been told is slower and less sophisticated than a stock S1000RR.

Seriously, setting aside nationalistic pride that motivates the irrational desire to see a slow rider on VRs bike (i.e., As an X, I want to see rider Y on the bike, where X and Y =Brit/Crutchlow, Aussie/McCoy, American/Spies, etc.), what's the frickin' point? What good did promoting Kallio to Stoner's seat do last year? Did it make all the Finn's happy to see him circulating mid pack and only getting on camera when he repeatedly binned it?

I like Edwards, Crutchlow, and the McCoys (both Leonard and Gary), etc., but they are just going to be stepping into gargantuous shoes that they have no hope in filling. Bring the #46 bike to the races, leave it parked in the Fiat box for fans to see, knowing that it will get lots of coverage (for the sponsors, albeit pre-race), and life will go on with 16 contestants until Rossi returns.

I didn't say he had ridden a MotoGP bike. But the problems stated have been acclimating to a bike with the different tires, different brakes at different tracks while trying to compete in two different series. McCoy is the only person who can say these issues are the least of his problems. I'm American and find the nationalistic leanings of some fans irritating as well. I'd think Makoto Tamada, Greg Lavilla or Uichi Ui would be fine candidates as well. While Tamada has had more recent success in MotoGP, he's been away from carbon brakes and consistent competition longer than McCoy, not to mention never riding an 800.

I don't think leaving the bike idle makes much sense for the team, fans, sponsors or league. The only people it benefits are the riders on the track that have to contend with one less rider during qualifying. I think the benefits for the others concerned should outweigh a 6% reduction in riders during qualifying. I find it hard to believe anyone imagines that any rider will fill the shoes of Valentino Rossi. (Except for some Spiesus fans.)

Put someone interesting on the bike. Seriously who wouldn't want to see if they would be fast on the Doctors bike. I would be glued to see if the best bike and team on the grid helped whoever they chose. Massive ROI for Yamaha. So here is the list of people I would LOVE to see on this bike in order:

Mladin - oh god yes
Hayes - dont forget superbike guys have subbed and done well before

Feel free to add

You have pinpointed Yamaha's dilemma. The bikes and tires are now so specific, and take so much getting used to, that there is almost nobody capable of being fast from the off. The problem is that any replacement rider would be expected to jump on the bike with no testing, no preparation, and would most likely be at least a couple of seconds off the pace for the first couple of races. Smart riders realize this, and if they have any long-term plans, are worried about how a poor performance on Rossi's (or Edwards') bike would affect their futures. 

Spies would not be one of the riders who is 2 seconds off. He is within about 1 second now on a noticeably slower Tech 3 M1 than the FIAT machine Rossi and Lorenzo have.

If they don't put Ben on the FIAT they are missing a great opportunity to get Rossi or Lorenzo to re-sign for 2011 at a cheeper rate.

because it *can't* happen. There has been a lot of contradictory information about the eligibility of Spies to substitute for a factory seat, however, this now appears to have been settled. Watching FP 1 online, Gavin Emmett and Nick Harris were discussing who will temporarily fill VRs seat at Fiat. Apparently, CEIII is all but confirmed to fulfill this role (the problem is to find a rider to take his seat at Tech3), and they explicitly mentioned that the rules had been clarified such that (quoting directly) "Spies had been mentioned as an early candidate, but as a rookie, he is simply not permitted to ride for a factory team--as a temporary substitute or otherwise (with the exception of Suzuki). The rules are quite clear on this point."

Gav is the ultimate insider; not only with the riders and teams, but with Dorna as well. Again, I love CE, but I think they should just leave the bike parked. Will the sponsors/fans benefit from seeing CE fight for a top 10 finish on the Fiat bike? Fiat/Yamaha should just tell Dorna: "Out of respect to VR, who is irreplaceable in every meaning of the word, we choose to incur the fine for leaving his seat empty until Valentino returns".

If this is true that Spies can't ride it then I'm really bummed.

In that case maybe another posters suggestion about Michael Shumacher taking the ride is the best option. If Shu isn't able to do it, maybe Michael Jordan is available - no?

Then again - there's always the possiblity of Mat Mladin or Troy Bayless. Who says there aren't many viable options?

Seriously, you are right DrEvol. If they aren't going to put someone competitive on it then just leave it parked.

Why do you say Gavin Emmett (who is clearly an outstanding journalist) is the ultimate insider? Gavin worked for Dorna (and speaks near perfect Spanish), but so did Matt Roberts, so did Dennis Noyes (though that was quite a while ago). Then there's Gunther Wiesinger, Paolo Scalera and Mike Scott, all of whom have been in the paddock forever, and who know everyone there is to know and have known them since they started. There's Matt Birt, who seems to have a hotline to everyone who matters in the paddock. Or there's Toby Moody and Julian Ryder, who have an uncanny ability to know what's going to happen before it happens. The list goes on and on. And that's without starting on the Spanish and Italian media. I wouldn't like to single out a single journalist as an "ultimate insider". you David and adore MM (and hope to buy you a pint at Laguna this year and/or Misano--I'll only attend the latter if Rossi is back by then), but you know (deep down) that Gavin has unfettered access and personal relationships with people who are *much* less accessible even to the anointed journos like Michael Scott and Dennis Noyes.

Ask yourself this: for any given issue, who do you think has a better idea of where Carmelo Ezpeleta, Vito Ippolito, et al. stand? Michael Scott, Julian Ryder, and co. because they have a press pass and can snoop intrepidly around the paddock? They are great reporters with great connections, but there is an issue of degree (e.g., Gav can have a 'confidential' conversation with Ezpeleta, etc., that would be impossible for any journalist to have: Picture Dennis Noyes saying: "Honestly, Vito, this is just between you and me!").

Btw, Julian Ryder is an affable, lovable, furry bear of a man, but far from infallible: see if you can spot at least two pedestrian errors in this piece. And don't even get me started on Matthew Birt: yes he might be the most reliable source at MCN, but that is a very relative statement. On the other hand, he did report that VRs seat is going to CEIII.

Dennis Noyes worked as Ezpeleta's right-hand man for many years and has his personal phone number. Scott, Scalera and Wiesinger have all known Ippolito since Ippolito was a team manager. Relationships run long and deep in the paddock, longer and deeper than is apparent from the outside. 

but putting a test rider on the bike would suck and we will all be glued if one of those names - or similar who has been listed on this site about this topic gets the ride. Although maybe that would suit Yamaha to make it a boring non issue...

Why not have a reality tv show with the winner getting the ride. A few wannabe's, a few hasbeen's, one never was, a villian, a few good sorts(at least one with double D's) and one producer ring in? Challenges, indemities, evictions and late night doona shaking under the green glow of infra red light?

Let's just suppose for a minute that they actually consulted Vale and asked him who he would choose to ride his bike. I'm not saying it's his decision, let's just assumed they asked him. Who do you think he would say? The relationship between Colin and Vale has been well documented, and I can imagine that Vale would endorse Colin Edwards or push for Colin Edwards over Ben Spies.

I'm not saying it's Vale's final decision, but I think we all know who he'd be pushing for. Maybe Vale's opinion is the x-factor that will ultimately determine who is named as a replacement.

Furthermore, the last thing Yamaha want at this point is someone who might take points off of Lorenzo. Spies might cause Lorenzo some issues, but Colin knows how to ride for the team.