Andrea Dovizioso To Tech 3 Yamaha?

With the secrecy surrounding Valentino Rossi's impending switch to Ducati becoming ever more difficult to maintain, the Italian's departure from Yamaha is starting to open up the rest of the MotoGP market. With Rossi at Ducati, and Ben Spies moving up to take Rossi's place in the factory Yamaha team, openings are being created in the Tech 3 Yamaha team, and speculation is increasing about who will fill the Yamaha seat in that team (Yamaha control and pay for one seat in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, with Herve Poncharal free to fill the second seat as he pleases).

Initially, Cal Crutchlow's name had been pencilled in to take the Yamaha seat at Tech 3, but though the young Briton has shown a good deal of promise on the Sterilgarda Yamaha in World Superbikes, he has not showed the progress his dominant year in World Supersport had suggested. Other names being bandied about from World Superbike were probably irretrievably damaged by Valentino Rossi's stunning times on the WSBK R1 at Brno, circulating at better than race pace after just a few hours on the bike, highlighting the gap between the talent levels in World Superbikes and in MotoGP.

So attention is switching to inside the MotoGP paddock, and one name being put forward is that of Andrea Dovizioso. The current Repsol Honda rider was initially expected to stay in a three-man factory team at Honda, as HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto stated when the signing of Casey Stoner by Honda was announced. But that deal was dependent on Honda being able to find funding from outside sponsorship, which MCN is reporting is proving very difficult to secure. The hopes were that Red Bull would step up and fund a separate team for Dovizioso, but according to MCN, Red Bull are proving difficult to persuade. Red Bull have been been present in the MotoGP paddock for a very long time, but since the Red Bull WCM team at the turn of the century, the Austrian energy drink giant has proven reluctant to sponsor another team, and appear unlikely to change their stance.

This would leave Dovizioso out of a three-man factory team, and force Honda to place the Italian in a satellite structure, with Fausto Gresini's San Carlo Gresini Honda squad the most likely candidate. Dovizioso would be placed alongside Marco Simoncelli, with both men receiving full factory backing from Honda, as both Dovizioso and Simoncelli have contracts directly with HRC.

But Dovizioso appears to have an alternative: according to the ever-well-informed, Dovizioso has also been offered a spot in the Tech 3 Yamaha satellite team. The Italian would take over Ben Spies' Yamaha-funded seat in Herve Poncharal's team, and with Spies' contract running out at the end of 2011, Dovizioso could find himself with options of a shot at the factory Yamaha team as well. Spies has had mixed results in his debut year in MotoGP, scoring brilliantly in some races - including a podium at Silverstone - while finishing firmly mid-pack on other occasions. Much of Spies' difficulties have had to do with having to learn new tracks, while complaints also continue to emanate from the Tech 3 garage about the level of support that the team is receiving from Yamaha. The YZR-M1s the team is campaigning are closer to the 2009 models than the bikes currently being run by the Fiat Yamaha squad, and the satellite Yamahas are significantly down on power.

This is certainly one factor why Dovizioso may decline the opportunity at Tech 3, but there is perhaps a more significant one. Title sponsor of the Tech 3 team is Monster, the American energy drink company. Dovizioso has a long association with Red Bull, and may not wish to jeopardize what has been an extremely fruitful relationship with the Austrian company without guarantees of a factory ride at some point in the future. With Casey Stoner already signed at Honda, and Dani Pedrosa - already a double race winner this year - closing in on another deal with Honda, Dovizioso is becoming the odd man out at Honda. If Red Bull don't step up to save him, he could be forced to abandon them after all, and switch to Monster and the Tech 3 Yamaha squad.

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..... that energy drinks are now a deciding factor as to where riders end up.

I could see Dovi on the Tech 3, I think he would still be a top end rider.

What's to say that Cal would not be on the Tech3? Has Colin signed for 2011 already?

If 46 goes RED, Ben goes to the factory (proberbly without Fiat backing) & Colin finds himself out of work (due to his current form) then Tech3 might need to fill 2 riders.

Silly season has started FAR too early this year!

I would appear, then, that Dovizioso and Elias are competing for the same two seats.

Tough to call which would be better for either one of them, save for Dovizioso's longer history with HRC.

Way too many theories and possibilities.#46 may yet decide to stick with Yamaha,thus skittling everyone.I know Rossi and Ducati appear to be a done deal,but its not official until it is.Dovi may yet find an offer painted RED.No guarantees Hayden will be there next year.
Then again GP is such an administrative mess right now viz a viz rules,I won't even speculate.

But the deal is done and the contracts are signed. There is no doubt in my mind that Valentino Rossi will be on a Ducati next year. Confirmation is coming from so many sources that it's clearly a done deal. One example: Rossi is taking no part in Yamaha's PR drive in the US. He didn't go to visit Jay Leno's garage, won't be answer fan questions in Monterey on Saturday night, won't be at other events. Everyone in the paddock has a different source for a Rossi-to-Ducati story. Too many indications pointing that way. You are right, it isn't official until the announcement is made, but we're really just filling time until it is. 

Well, to be fair, they didn't know until a week ago whether he would be in the USA or not, as he was only signed fit for the Sachsenring on Thursday!

Val was not at Leno's place for the PR pictures and there is no mention of him in the other events. Kind of like Stoner was not doing the PR laps at Aragon with the other Ducati riders right before it was announce he was going to HRC.

Rossi didn't take part in the Leno's Garage because he's just (badly) broken his leg! Anyone who has had similar breaks in their legs know how sensitive the lower extremities are to swelling and delayed healing/damage if you don't keep them elevated. The guy could barely walk prior to last weekend and even though he's incredibly fit, healing still takes time. I'd be surprised if he wasn't at some other fan events over the weekend but get some perspective David and don't read too much into Rossi not wanting to stand around for hours and hours and un-do the healing that has taken place with renewed swelling and the subsequent lack of blood flow to the leg.

Isn't there some more technical stuff you could report on rather than this gossip-mongering...? You're way better at the tech stuff IMHO!

I got several chances to see Rossi's leg up close in Germany, and it was going remarkably well. Rossi also reported that there was very little swelling, even on Saturday after riding the bike twice with just a couple of hours' rest in between. Rossi's leg is not troubling him much.

However, it's a good point that Rossi would not want to spend a long time standing around for the press. That doesn't alter the fact that Rossi has already signed for Ducati, though.

I'd still be wary of swelling kicking in. He's been working that leg way harder i the past week or 2 than any time during the recuperation period.

As to the switch to Ducati, I'll be sad to see him leave Yamaha (even though I ride a '99 996 and have been a Ducatiste since following the Old Blue exploits in Cycle mag as a high school student in the 1970s). No other company seems to embrace their former riders the way Yamaha does. It really does seem to be a family as opposed to all the other companies. Maybe he'll do a Lawson and leave, get the record and title on Ducati, and then come back to finish his career.

I think you are being a little harsh on the WSBK contingent. Yes, Rossi's times were stunning and he was able to give valuable feedback, but he's probably head and shoulders above most of the MotoGP (let alone WSBK) field in bike setup.

New blood needs to come from somewhere, and it seems a waste of a "rookie" seat to put Dovi on it. However, having said that, I recognise there aren't enough factory bikes, either. It's a conundrum.

Sounds like a no brainer to me. Dovi is in the top five, Honda fulfill their contractual obligation to give him a full factory machine 2011 albeit in Gresini guise. Where's the issue? Why would he even contemplate the second string Yamaha?

A few weeks ago I read that Dovi was guaranteed a Repsol Honda contract if he was in 5th place in the series at a certain time, I don't think he's going to give that up to ride for Tech 3 either.

If Dovi needs to pick the better "B" bike,, IMO the Honda seems to be the better choice. Spies and Colin haven't had anything good to say about their "second tier" rides while DePunet and Simoncelli are progressing nicely. These "magic" new Yamaha parts for LaGuna Seca sounds a lot of hot-air,,, I don't expect any miracles.. With half the Yamaha Empire going (or already gone) to Honda, the "Red Wing Giant" look to return to their former dominance.

Everyone assumes that with Vale leaving Spies will get promoted to the factory team but I haven't seen any statements from Yamaha or Tech3 that lead me to believe it's a done deal. Spies has had a good year so far and undoubtedly would be doing better with a better engine but if Yamaha hire Dovi I wouldn't be surprised to see him stay with Tech3. Especially if Colin goes back to WSB as is rumoured. That would keep Monster and Herve's other US sponsors happy and potentially bring Red Bull into the factory team to help fund the hole left by Fiat.

if Dovi got the facory Yamaha seat and Spies didn't. Every MotoGP journolist in the world who has been following the silly season have all predicted Spies will move up to the Fiat team if Val leaves.

And think Red Bull is a personal sponsor for Dovi so they will bring no money to the team

And there have been reports that Yamaha are already in talks with Petronas to step up from a partial sponsor to the main one if Fiat leaves.

How much support will he get from Honda at Gresini compared to what Tech 3 will be running? Right now you would have to say the Gresini deal with the factory kit is the better option.

And will it be worth ditching his relationship with Red Bull to go ride for a team sponsored by Monster?

Ans what about the available factory seats for 2012? It looks like Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, and Val will probably all have at least 2 year deals sign this year. So that only leaves Spies (if he will be at Fiat in 2011) and Hayden (who MCN reports today as signing a deal soon) as the only available factory seats in 2012 if Nicky only gets a 1 year deal (not counting Suzuki of course and the potential entrants of BMW and Aprilia). There isn't a whole lot of factory seats going around.

Furasawa, Rossi, and probably Burgess are leaving Yamaha. Next year will be okay, but with the format changes coming, i wouldn't go anywhere near Yamaha by 2012. They are losing their entire braintrust at the exact moment they will need it.

i'm very courious to see what Lorenzo will can do on a 1000cc bike,maybe he will be great on it,but i remember he has had some problems in 2008 with "right wrist=>electronic=>traction control=>high side".He will be in charge to develop a totally new bike...

This is news. You wouldn't think the sponsors would have this much to do with it but it does make sense. Dovi and Redbull seem to be too close to part ways. I think they will end up forming a single team. Dovi has been on Hondas the whole time I would be surprised if he left. Not to mention if Rossi leaves I would imagin Lorenzo would be sticking around for number of seasons and if Spies does get the factory ride and I was Dovi things wouldn't look promising for the future factory ride. It would seem Dovi to San Carlo would be much more likey at this point. Dovi stays on a Honda, with factory support AND probably brings in some more cash with Redbull. In Dovi's postion if the only choice is which satelite team to go to the decision seems obvious, Honda with more factory support and a similar bike.
Also it seems like no one is in the loop about Colin's future. Who knows maybe Tech 3 has 2 seats to fill?
I'd like to see Dovi on a factory supported satelite or a full on Redbull ride than the tech 3 machine, something tells me he would too.

Is Fiat making noises about leaving MotoGP?
I thought they were due to (re)enter the US market soon. If so, it would seem like a no-brainer to have Spies on a FIAT Yamaha, no?
Even with Stoner and now (apparently) Rossi changing teams, it hasn't really settled much about the silly season, has it?

Regarding Tech, they could indeed be looking to fill 2 seats. There is a report in this weeks edition of mcn about colin edwards in talks with the xerox ducati team. He may be off as he is not happy with the standard of satellite bike.

Tech 3 has more reason to be unhappy with Colin's performance this year than the other way around.

In general Spies is showing that the bike is not that bad.

The truth is that Colin has been predominantly inconsistent/a fairly consistent underperformer and disappointment during his time in MotoGP.

It's time for him to make way/move on, one way or another...

What's with the adjectives regarding I take for granted that you will not take crappy fan-sites as a source. By now I know very well that GPone is 'most reliable' and 'ever-well-informed'. Have trust in your reputation! (which is... oh well you know)

What are Yamaha's future plans for Burgess? I can't see him working with Spies, as he will bring Houseworth from Tech 3. Likewise i can't see him in Lorenzo's side of the garage either. Who is to replace Furusawa?

I read a rumor somewhere that he & his Aussie crew are off back to Honda, to work with Stoner. Any truth in that one Emmett?

If Yamaha are left without Furusawa, Rossi & Burgess, the prospects look less than rosy indeed for their 1000cc machine.

Don't you have any insights on JB's future ;)

Of course they are saying that, they just want british riders in moto gp, but honestly, what have they (Haslam & Rea) done to deserve it? MCN just posts sensationalist rubbish a lot of the time.
The class of this years (so far) wsbk field is a beardy italian pushing forty.
There isn't exactly a surplus of seats for incoming riders in moto gp either, are the new prospects really better than the incumbants?

Tech 3 will be looking for two riders next year as the Tornado is going back to SBK. Look for an annoucement of a two year deal soon.

Well, so far everything I predicted is coming true. Never thought I would be correct, though!

I always thought Dovi would be relegated to the Tech 3 team after Rossi goes red and Ben moves up a notch.

I heard from several good sources that they would run a third bike for Dovi. But seriously, many times have we heard that in the last few years? It never ends up happening :(

Wondering where colin will end up..........

with the WSBK paddock not being up to speed. Rossi isn't the only rider to school those guys with a retired Bayliss doing the same thing on the Ducati. I am a big WSBK fan but I am not seeing any standouts there this year.

For me, Biaggi's riding beautifully, like he did at his best in GPs, and so was Haslam until recently. And Rea's wild (or the bike's wild) but he's fast. Even if Rossi was better than the Yamaha riders and Bayliss was better than the Ducati riders, the Yamaha and Ducati riders are having bad years (perhaps apart from the fast but inexperienced Crutchlow). Biaggi, Haslam and Rea have been much better. To say that the tests mean the field is weak is a bit like saying that if Biaggi tested the Tech 3 faster than Edwards, then Lorenzo hasn't been that good.

both Rossi and Bayliss were faster than the field not just the guy on their bikes.

for Rossi, the GPOne link I posted earlier is pretty good, I think. And Bayliss was very fast but he was only testing against other Ducatis and was on a different bike and posted his fastest lap on a new prototype race tyre.

It's still not great for Haga and Fabrizio but then I think they're underperforming this year. But I don't think it means a great deal for the level of talent in the series because there's usually someone underperforming in any category. Not that I wouldn't put Motogp slightly ahead of WSBK, based on the depth of talent, but I don't think there's that much in it. A bit like F1 and the pre-split Indycars.
And a rider might simply be better suited to one category than the other.

That was the Misano test - after Bayliss stormed Mugello beating the Superbike lap record there I believe. So when a retired guy and a guy with a broken leg are faster than regular WSBK pilots not up to speed is my opinion.

I thought the original idea/rumor was that Red Bull would fund Stoner at Honda. I'd think a new sponsor would find Stoner -- a much better candidate to win the title than Dovizioso I would say -- a LOT more interesting than Dovizioso.

Dovizioso might be a good fit for Tech 3, talent-wise. But he's in a bit of a tough spot, in any case.

If HRC decides they don't want/cannot afford him (i.e. to run 3 bikes) next year, he could be a nice guy and accept a token financial settlement and go to Tech 3, which seems to be a competent, stable team with bikes and support good enough to give him a chance to be competitive, and so open up the possibility of a factory bike later.

But if it is true what is claimed about that clause in his contract which guarantees him a seat at HRC if he finishes high enough, he could also play hardball and force HRC to pay a substantial sum for him to agree to give up that seat. But while he would then be free to sign elsewhere, he would probably also be burning a bridge back to HRC.

Personally, I think Tech 3 ought to say good-bye to Colin. His performance is way down this year (although he has always been inconsistent), and his use by date has passed. He's had many years in MotoGP, too many tinged with underperformance and overall disappointment. Good-bye and good luck Colin.

So Dovizioso and de Puniet -- a French guy there would probably help bring in some French sponsor money -- sounds like a good lineup at Tech 3.

Colin Edwards has been far too outspoken in his criticism of the Yamaha package this year to retain his seat at Tech 3. Unless Herve steps in and decides to pay his wages of course (a large proportion of Edwards's expenses are still paid by Yamaha I believe?).

His results have been poor all year and it is about time he stepped down (hopefully not to WSBK as he will be just another ex-MotoGP rider taking valuable rides from good youngsters needing a leg up!). I like Colin but it is time he retired.

Crutchlow would be a good rookie for Tech 3, but then they have their own Moto2 riders + Elias, De Angelis, Tomizawa etc wanting to make the move up next year. Poncheral has already mentioned that he likes the look of Jules Cluzel and wanted to sign him for his Moto2 team at the end of last year, so I would think he has a shot at the second seat at Tech 3 too.