The First Piece Of The Puzzle: Jorge Lorenzo Pens New 2-Year Deal With Yamaha

The first and most important piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is MotoGP's silly season for 2013 has fallen into place. This morning, Yamaha issued a press release announcing that they have signed Jorge Lorenzo to a new two-year deal, meaning the 2010 World Champion will remain with Yamaha for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Casey Stoner's retirement at the end of this season had massively boosted Lorenzo's market value.

Lorenzo's signing will add fresh impetus to the current round of rider bargaining. The Spaniard was widely seen as the key player in the rider merry-go-round once Stoner had decided to retire. Both Yamaha and Honda were pursuing Lorenzo hard; Lorenzo was the only man capable of pushing Stoner for the championship, and with the Australian gone is the top favorite to dominate the class in the coming years. HRC boss admitted recently that he had had conversations with Jorge Lorenzo's manager, Marcos Hirsch, adding that it had been mainly an introductory chat, rather than actual negotiations.

Lorenzo's decision to remain with Yamaha, despite the obvious temptations to go to Honda, especially given the pot of gold reputedly being dangled in front of the Spaniard's nose, does not entirely come as a surprise. At Barcelona, Lorenzo's manager was repeatedly spotted in talks with Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis, a sign of the seriousness with which Yamaha were pursuing the Spaniard. For Lorenzo, the choice will have been more about ambition than money, however. Staying with Yamaha was his best chance of securing another championship or two, especially as he will be able to retain the group which has been assembled around him, including crew chief Ramon Forcada. At Barcelona, Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg predicted that the Spaniard would not leave Yamaha for Honda. Zeelenberg told the Dutch publication MOTOR Magazine that money was not a factor for Lorenzo. The choice would come down to whether Lorenzo believed he could win more titles with Yamaha, Zeelenberg explained, adding "Anyway, I don't think it would be very sensible to change teams for next year after winning three of the first five races."

The move will have a major impact elsewhere in the riders market. Lorenzo's decision to remain with Yamaha presents a major obstacle to what had been rumored to be Valentino Rossi's preferred option for 2013, with Yamaha less inclined to welcome Rossi back with Lorenzo already in place. If Rossi were to make a return, the Italian would need both to take a major pay cut and to bring a substantial amount of sponsorship to the team. At Barcelona, Rossi had joked with Italian reporters about taking a pay cut, when discussing his options for next season. "I have already made a lot of money in my career," he quipped, "so we'll see."

Lorenzo's signing also leaves Honda in a quandary. Though Dani Pedrosa is now certain to be retained for 2013, his position safe until Honda can move Marc Marquez into the factory team, as is expected in 2014, the question is who can take the seat left vacant by Stoner. Though Pedrosa has proven himself to be capable of winning races and constantly scoring podiums, the Spaniard has always fallen short of being truly competitive for a title. The list of potential championship winners in MotoGP is rather short, which could open the door to Rossi at Honda, but the Japanese factory is still stinging after the things that Rossi wrote about the factory in his 2006 autobiography, What If I Had Never Tried It. It is believed that Honda headquarters in Japan would veto a return to the factory team, though a slot could be made available in a satellite team, with the San Carlo Gresini squad the most logical option, should Rossi decide to leave Ducati. He could decide that the Bologna factory offers his best chance, though, especially if the upgrades expected during the summer finally start to show some of the serious performance improvements which Rossi has been asking for.

With Stoner gone and Lorenzo now re-signed by Yamaha, Silly Season is now officially open. Expect a lot of riders to start pushing that little bit harder over the next few races, as they try to catch the attention of factory bosses and put themselves in the shop window for next season. Managers are about to get very, very busy over the next couple of months.

Below is the official press release confirming Lorenzo's new two-year contract with Yamaha.

Yamaha Confirms Lorenzo for 2013 and 2014

Press Statement - Tuesday 12th June 2012, 09.00hrs CET, Gerno di Lesmo (Italy)

It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd can confirm the extension of Jorge Lorenzo’s contract to ride for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team for 2013 and 2014.

Jorge Lorenzo joined Yamaha in 2008, achieving fourth place in his first season and claiming the Rookie of the Year title. He was then second in 2009, went on to become MotoGP World Champion in 2010 and was second again in 2011.

Lorenzo currently leads the 2012 MotoGP World Championship by 20 points having taken three victories from the first five completed races of the 18 race series.

Jorge Lorenzo

“I am extremely happy to have signed with Yamaha for two more years. They’ve made great efforts to retain me in the Factory Team so I want to thank all those involved at Yamaha for this. I’ve been treated like part of the Yamaha family since 2008 and I love working with them. It has always been my first option to stay here and so I’m happy that this important negotiation has finished with such a positive outcome. Now I can focus on the Championship and I’m looking forward to paying back Yamaha’s trust in me starting at Silverstone this weekend. I look forward to winning many more Championships together; my dream to finish my career with Yamaha is now closer to becoming a reality!”

Lin Jarvis
Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing

“This is excellent news for Yamaha and for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team. Jorge has been with us since 2008 and achieved superb results in the first four years, the highlight being his World Championship victory in 2010. He’s currently on top form having won three of the first five GP races and finishing second in the other two. Jorge’s contract extension allows both him and Yamaha to concentrate 100% on this year’s Championship challenge without any distractions and also to make future plans together to further strengthen the winning partnership.”

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Third Paragraph:
"At Barcelona, Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg predicted that the Spaniard would not leave Honda"

Did you mean "leave Yamaha"?

Thanks for pointing that out. Got caught between two thoughts there.

Ducati GP12 improved parts will come only by Laguna Seca. It will be a real gamble for Rossi to wait for that and then make up his mind with the Tech3 Yamaha riders performing so well. Hope he doesn't run out of options until Laguna and end up with a bad bike for the rest of the year and probably rest of his career if he stays with Ducati..

It was always pretty clear Lorenzo would stay with Yamaha, where he seems happy (and vice versa) -- right now that's the most consistently competitive package in MotoGP.

The question was always who will be riding alongside him?

While I admit to being impressed by Spies' hammer start to the last race, and thought it was a real shame, both for him personally and for the race, that he overreached on that overtake and went down (as he later said, you could really see during those first two laps that Pedrosa did seem to be holding him up, especially thru the corners, but the punch of the Honda coming out of corners and its top speed on the straights made passing Pedrosa difficult), he'll have to do a LOT more in the remaining races to hold onto his seat.

I would think Dovizioso is the favorite there, as he seems more reliable on race day than Crutchlow. Not an exciting choice, but a relatively safe one -- right now it looks like you can expect Dovizioso to be challenging for a podium spot every race.

I'm not saying Dovi isn't the more likely candidate to get the factory slot than Crutchlow, mainly due to his greater experience in MotoGP, but I wonder why you think he "seems more reliable"?

Certainly the results so far this season would indicate both riders are fairly evenly matched, as it was only the last race at Barcelona where they didn't finish one behind the other, and are usually only a few seconds apart at the chequered flag. Both are also hungry for the factory seat, and desperate to be the first Tech3 bike over the line.

A tough call to choose between them at this stage of the season, I'd say.

Well, Dovizioso has finished ahead of Crutchlow 3 out of 5 races -- the last 3 in a row, in fact -- although Crutchlow has qualified ahead of Dovizioso in all but one race.

I admit they are very close. But it is my general feeling that Dovizioso is the better race day choice at the moment.

Personally I'd like to see Crutchlow on the Ducati next year.

Honda has a real problem. Unless they act, they are left with Pedrosa as their lead rider. And I think it must be clear to them by now that he is very unlikely to ever win the title. Assuming a rule change, they could take a chance on a rookie I guess. They may already be reconsidering their reported earlier stance against Rossi...

I could see Rossi in Tech 3 with major Monster support: the thing is that yamaha have 4 strong riders, and will probably keep them, right?

Maybe if one goes to HRC... but only for one year? We have all that Marquez agenda going on, so maybe will see some exception measures next year, to put the puzzle all together.

Still, my crazy bet is:

Spies in HRC
Dovi saying hello to Lorenzo ;)
Rossi and Crutch, wonder team

We all know how Rossi got his undies in a bunch when Jorge started beating him on same equipment (and how Rossi objected to equal treatment from Yamaha). I don't think there's any way Rossi would join Tech 3 knowing Jorge will be on better equipment every weekend. There's still some hope the Ducati will become competitive one day, but there's let's face it: there's no hope Rossi on the satellite Yamaha will beat Jorge on the factory machine.

Before the Mugello practice crash, in 2010, Rossi finished 1, 3, 2. He then missed 4 races, including Mugello, and was riding injured the rest of the year. He was beaten but I think it is grossly overstated here, how much so. Similar to 2009, they hadn't reached base setup development yet prior to the crash. In 2009 it took until Catalunya for them to have the proper base setting.

Rossi finished 1-3-2, Jorge finished 2-1-1. Jorge was clearly behind Rossi in his 2008 debut year but has improved significantly each year since. In 2009, there was more and more friction in the factory team as Rossi did not enjoy having a teammate so close behind performance wise. I know not everyone is in agreement about the circumstances surrounding Rossi's departure from Yamaha, but the general narrative I've read describes Rossi as essentially forcing Yamaha to choose him over Jorge (rather than giving both equal treatment). When Yamaha refused to guarantee Rossi preferential treatment, he decided to explore other options. This is not a comment on who is the better rider currently - tough call given both their records...simply my opinion that Rossi would be very, very unlikely to take an inferior Tech 3 machine given his past rejection of equal factory machinery.

I only wholly agree on that last bit of conjecture. Rossi's not likely to take a non factory machine. Non factory machine is an occasional podium placer at best especially when we get a full season of development into the 1000's. There's nothing really for him to prove there. As for the rest of your assertions, you're free to choose whichever fantasy and stats suit you.

...and be specific about which of my assertions/stats are "fantasy". I'm thrilled to be enlightened.

Personally, I think it went further than that: Rossi did not want to be on the same team as Lorenzo. He wanted Yamaha to not re-sign Lorenzo.

If I had to choose between the two, on equal machinery, right now I would choose Lorenzo. As you say he has improved every year, and at the moment is overall the toughest competitor in the paddock.

Remember also, that VR's debilitating Motocross shoulder injury occurred prior to the Mugello crash - he tried to hide the fact from the opposition, but of course it leaked, or became obvious.

And Rossi got his first serious injury after the first race while training on a motocrosser. In short Jorge dominated nothing until Rossi got injured and has said as much himself..
Fully expecting to see Rossi on a honda next year and a factory one at that, though preferably not repsol , his much needed sponsorship could fund an extra and more than welcome team maybe with Iannone as a team mate??. Honda may talk the talk but their insistance on keeping Dani tells another story. 9 times out of 10 I reckon Rossi would beat dani on the honda(had zero trouble doing it on the yamaha) and therefore is the 2nd hottest property in motogp and honda cannot afford not to have him. Of course if they sort the duke he'll stay at ducati, but cannot afford to go into another season of 'testing' and 'development'. The duke has to work and has to work as soon as they get the new engine.. not convinced myself.

"Undies in a buch" is a bit of an oversimplification. Lorenzo himself has admitted (very graciously) that he never actually beat Rossi in a straight fight for the championship when they were teammates.

My post said Rossi got his undies in a bunch (i.e., he got a bit flustered) when Jorge "started" beating him on equal machinery. I did not mean to imply Jorge conclusively or consistently outperformed Rossi or that Jorge would always continue to do so. The central point I was trying to make is that Rossi, even when winning, did not like having Jorge so close behind. 2009 is a perfect example - when Rossi was still posting better results but with Jorge close behind - of Rossi getting uncomfortable with such a high-performing teammate. Rossi is perhaps the greatest of all time and has always been unquestionably the #1 rider on any team he's been on. That certainty started to get a little hazy with Jorge's performance in 2009 and 2010...and, in my view, was (understandably) very unsettling to Rossi.

Actually it was Lorenzo getting equal treatment and say so on development bits that pissed Valentino off. He felt that he had won them championships, helped resurrect the brand in GP after years of losing, and even won the deal the first year out, when everyone said it wasn't possible, on a bike that had cam chains like a production bike. He felt he had done enough to be the #1 rider for the mfr., and that it should be clear. Furusawa agreed as did most of the factory. Rarely will you hear a Japanese engineer disagree with his employer, Furusawa did, and said as much in interviews. He thought it was the wrong decision.

This wasn't really shocking as Honda did the exact same thing. They told him after b2b championships that the new bits would go to whomever started winning and everyone would start the next season as equals. They also didn't give him the 212v that he had won on which used to be customary. Honda had done the same thing to Edwards in 2002 after b2b Suzka 8hrs with Rossi and Katoh, and winning a stunning comeback WSBK title that nobody said could be done.

As far as Lorenzo goes. Anyone going up against Rossi is going to get chunked into the foe camp. If you haven't noticed he gets like that at fight time. Biaggi, Gibernau, Stoner, Lorenzo, no difference. He is a fighter and grew up watching GP's when riders saw red when looking at their closest competitors. Jarvis and crew decided to put him on equal footing and considering what Rossi and crew had done for them it's understandable that he wouldn't take it well.

Make no mistake he is always ready to go wheel to wheel, even Lorenzo and Lorenzo knows it.

but i am betting that asking Rossi to take a paycut begging poverty when he brought the sponsorship to the team, and then giving lorenzo a raise at the same time had to stick in his craw.

This, I don't understand. A guy develops a machine and then would hold the exclusive rights to new parts etc? I thought the whole idea was that a development rider would create improvements everybody could benefit from? Wasn't that the whole idea behind Rossi's move to Ducati? You make it sound like a crime that Yamaha/Honda/any brand gives the best parts to the best riders.
Do you really think it would be realistic if Yamaha said: you really helped us, gave us championships, so we are going to neglect great upcoming talent in your favor? I don't think so. This is a professional sport, no favors are done.

Crutchlow at HRC with Danni, Marquez at a Sat Honda team with full factory support.

Next year? Marquez with the best performing HRC rider.

The simplest solution is usually the correct one.

Unless of cause Casey gets his one year contract and decides race one more season.

How much say would he have on bike development? Any at all? It doesn't seem they have missed him that bad. And would he get new parts just as soon as Lorenzo got them? Why would Yamaha risk upsetting Lorenzo? Certainly they wouldn't. Or what about the wall between garages Rossi rose once? Would he ever expect it to get teared down so he could put his eyes on what Lorenzo has been up to?

I don't see him on a Tech 3 or anything close to it.

It seems more likely, if he leaves Ducati, that it Honda might give/sell/lease him a satellite bike. But the questions about development and new parts still remain. He is not their bet or a future prospect like Marquez, but a customer. And Ducati experiment certainly shows the risk of having Rossi replace Stoner. The RC213V isn't the oh so sweet kind of bike Rossi loves.

The Ducati is an anomaly. Everyone has done worse on it than anything else. Put anyone on a bike after the Ducati and their results have improved markedly (i.e. Stoner/Honda, Melandri/Hayate). The Honda is not the Rubik's cube that the Ducati remains to be. I think both Rossi or Hayden would be causing damage up near the front on a Japanese bike and even more so if it were a factory one. Neither is ever likely to happen but not for reasons that either would do poorly or fail to get to grips with a Honda. Keep dreaming that little dream of hate you got there.

Yamaha = Lorenzo, Dovisiozo, Smith and Crutchlow.

As far as puzzles go its a fairly simple one now apart from the fate of Spies whose ride I think will go to Dovi.

Tech 3 will be Smith as he already has a contract with Poncheral for 2013, and most likely Cal Crutchlow, although Spies has time to turn his form around and somehow (perhaps with Yamaha USA support) hang onto a ride within the Yamaha family.

Honda = Pedrosa, Bradl, Marquez and a.n.other.

This is the tough one because of that awkwardly shaped piece called Marc Marquez! The difficulties being faced in placing Marc Marquez in a non works team means that just like that awkward piece he doesn't quite fit anywhere and like many frustrated jigsaw players Honda are making moves to hammer him into a position, even if the whole picture then doesn't look quite right.

Marquez will be put on a works Honda but in a satellite team. Whether that is Gresini or LCR; sponsorship clashing wrangles are basically a matter of money to appease whoever needs to give way for Repsol and Monlau, or a team made for him for one year to keep within the spirit of the Rookie Rule if Dorna bow to pressure allowing Honda to run a fifth bike for Marquez.

If not, and Honda can only field four prototypes it is entirely possible we could see a one bike Repsol team for next year and running Marquez in a separate outfit.

Assuming there is a second seat at Repsol Honda next year, this ride is a bit of a poison chalice as it would be for one year to keep the seat warm for Marquez. Prime candidate for this in my eyes is Stefan Bradl. He has a contract with Honda for next year so could end up in Repsol colours for one year. Is there room enough for two fast Spaniards in that team? If Bradl performs Pedrosa would have his work cut out hanging on to his ride for 2014 when Marquez becomes available.

Bautista could be looking at a P45, who needs another Spaniard on a prototype bike with Pedrosa, Marquez and Lorenzo occupying the headlines? Interestingly Dorna needs established MotoGP riders like Edwards and DePuniet on CRT's to give the sub class a semblance of credibility against the prototypes, perhaps tweaking rules more to allow them to humiliate rookies trying to get to grips with prototypes in the early season. That seat will be chased hard by all the riders looking for a contract next year.

Ducati = Rossi, Hayden, plus two suicide jockeys.

Rossi will stay with Ducati because he will not be seen as quitting or being beaten by the bike. More importantly the truth of the matter is that there are no other works rides available to him, although seeing him on a satellite Tech 3 bike is an intriguing prospect as someone has postulated, but somehow I don't think he would want to race under Lorenzos shadow. A one year deal at Honda is as unlikely as their 2003 parting was acrimonious. Honda doesn't forget.

As for Hayden, well I can't see good 'ol Nicky going anywhere as he is great for Ducati's US market - smiles for the sponsors then just gets on and rides all day long on whatever Ducati put under him. A model employee.

Satellite Ducati rides next year are difficult to pin down - who on earth would want one if those millions of euros is only marginally faster than a CRT and ten times more hazardous to riders health and reputations?

A bit early in the silly season for predictions? Yes but it will be fun to read this in four months time and laugh at how hilariously wrong I am!

I think the only thing that can alter everything you just said would be the collapsing of either the rookie rule or the 4 bike rule. Otherwise you hit it spot on.

the trouble with logic is that it very rarely has any place in silly season events!

Personally I think the Rookie rule should be modified - to state that rookies are only allowed to sign for CRT entry teams.

Wonder if Carmelo reads these pages? ;-)

I reckon the definition of dynasty is slightly more than one title in 5 years... Considering what the yamaha team achieved while Rossi was there.. On race wins, last season was yamaha's worst since Max was head of development back in 2003..

Head of development at Yamaha were Checa and Barros in 2003. One of the reasons Yam was so down this year is because Biaggi already went to Honda.

can a rider be 'head of development'?

I don't know of any riders who are also engineers...

I would think that Cal Crutchlow would be slightly more marketable lately than Dovi.
Given similar results, Dovi has longer experience at this level, but Cal's shorter form curve is more skyward. I cant help feeling that Dovi's recent performance is partly due to pressure from his maturing team mate Cal, and so this could be seen as temporary Dovi effort. Silverstone this weekend could be good for Cal too.

After HRC's words, i can't imagine Rossi going for a satellite bike, even because of all the mess with Marquez and one contract deals.

And let's wait and see if smith goes next year to MotoGP... there are a lot of guys doing so much better, perhaps he can stay one more year at Moto2.

i can see yamaha going for full dominance, with 4 strong riders, and win it all. At least, next year.

What I want to know is who would take that HRC seat next to Dani if it's only gonna be a one year deal. They may as well get rid of the rookie rule and let MM go on and take that seat.

It's still a hell of an opportunity. If someone really impressed on that Repsol bike that might make HRC forget about the unproven Marquez or the damn good but never quite there Pedrosa.

And even if Honda does dump them, a good year on the Repsol should improve their options for the next year.

I'm still not sold on Dovi being a major player in the current MOTOGP field. He was on the mighty Honda and could not keep up with the front runners. He is more consistent than Spies but I believe he would loose a head to head battle with him. Crutchlow sould be given the opportunity to fully demonstrate his abilities; he's showing that he has the potential. With Smith reportedly on contract, who's going to be the odd men out? Results of the next 4 races will determine the outcome. My prediction is that Spies will do just enough to secure his spot at the factory. With no room at HRC, and Ducati not that user friendly, I can see Tech3 waiting till after the summer break to decide who to keep.
Now who will HRC sign to warm up the seat for Marquez? Bautista seems like a good seat warmer. If he beats Pedrosa than the ride is his. I don't see anyone else outside of Rossi, maybe One of the tech3 guys.

Dovi did come in 3rd, but only by a few(less than 10) points over Dani. Also, Dani missed how many races last year with his injury at Le Mans? To say that he beat Dani is true and it isn't. Last year proves that Dovi is a great support rider but one that's not capable of taking a championship. It's only after he got upgrades to the brakes that he then started to get on level terms with Cal. Cal still has the old rotors where Dovi shelled out money from his own pocket to get the new Equiptment. Cal is much more of a marketable personality. Kinda the same way Rossi is. He's fast,funny and witty. Always has the best interviews, Teams like that,Sponsers like that and Carmelo likes that. He'll either be on the factory Yamaha with Spies moving to Honda or Cal on the Honda and if Dani doesn't win it next year, MM will get his spot.

Actually Cal got the new rotors last week. And yeah Dani missed races. He always does which shows that Dovi was/is less prone to injuries and/or more consistent than Dani on the same bike.

From what I thought Cal only received new calipers,not the larger rotors. As far as Dani always missing races, he does but to say that Dovi was the better rider of the two last year would be wrong, IMO. You don't fight with your teammate for the same spot in the championship after one has missed three races and expect to keep your seat. While Dovi may be consistant. He's proven he can't win races. Dovi is a stalitte rider, that's all he'll ever be. He had his shot with HRC and proved that he couldn't win a race(in the dry) against the Stoner,Pedrosa,and Lorenzo. Spies is the only won who has beaten them(bar Lorenzo) in the dry. From what we saw in Barcalona it looks as if his season is turning around. Don't think he will lose that spot. Dovi will stay put. He's as far as he will make it in GP. Personally I think there are better riders that should take that spot for him. The only factory team he might go to would be Ducati.

Section of the 2012 rules state:

In the MotoGP class, carbon brake discs must be of one size for
outside diameter of 320mm and only 2 standard choices of disc
mass are permitted.

One diameter, 2 masses. I don't see where that leaves leeway for a different diameter disc.


Rather than bother about where all the other cards in the preferred deck fall, right now one thing is abundantly apparent. Barring some unforeseen and unwanted disaster,Lorenzo and Yamaha are surely the bookies favourites for 2013 and 2014 as early as 2012. The bloke is conceivably in a position to win the current and following 2 GP titles on the trot.
Nevertheless,a great decision by him and congrats to Yamaha for retaining him.

Seeing how everyone else will be fighting for seats, survival, or relevance Yamaha could be set for major momentum for a couple seasons until suitable competitive machinery, riders, and teams coalesce. The two underperformers in the alien camp are Ducati as a whole and Pedrosa as an individual. If either could find their magic feather then it won't look like 2010 on repeat.

Ducats problem is Preziosi. He needs to be canned. They had the best rider on the grid giving them race wins. They treated him like sh!t and in typical Ducati fashion want him to ride thier way. Not change. Same seems to be happening with Rossi. Ducati need to get their head out of their ass and swallow some pride and get some that can lead design. Traditions don't mean shit in GP racing. No one riding a 1198 bought that because the engine has the same configuration as the GP one. They need to repose that this is prototype racing and that if they are going to make a bike capable of winking races then they need to throw tradition and Preziosi out the door. Either that or leave him to designing street bikes. I guess will see next year if his newest creation is a winner in WSBK.

Ben Spies will hopefully do enough to keep his ride. Two wins in the US and a few podiums elsewhere would be neeeded. Dovi had his shot on a Repsol bike. Give Cal a shot. But as we see from everyone including Rossi. That 1st season on a factory team is a bitch.

Dani is fast but how many years on the top team and no serious threat for the title? If Casey doesn't win this year Honda is in for a long draught.

And that is to come in 2nd to Lorenzo in all the remaining races! I'm sure Yamaha would like to see Ben on the podium but would rather see Lorenzo as the 2012 champ. At this point the best thing he can do is get in between Lorenzo and Stoner on a consistent basis.


Interesting reading, but what about the interview with Crutchlow last week in MCM linking him with talks at Ducati. Alas, Cal seems to believe his riding style is similar to Stoners. He also said if the opportunity came along, he would take any Factory ride over a satellite ride next year. he wasn't complaining about anything, just stating he hopes to have a factory ride next year. If Rossi were to move to a Honda, that would leave a factory Ducati seat free. DON'T DO IT CAL!!!

Aren't we all jumping the gun here? And why all the fuss over Marquez? He needs to show a lot more maturity. Bradl is doing his time on a satellite Honda and achieving better results in his rookie MotoGP season than Marco Simoncelli did in 2010 - when that fellow Spies beat him. If Bradl continues his steady form, does he not earn a shot at a factory seat? And why cannot Marquez do his time on a satellite bike, same as Spies and Simoncelli in 2010, and Crutchlow last year. What is the big rush? The kid has some growing up to do yet, and he hasn't won the Moto2 title either. He can wait. Anyone reckon Lin Jarvis would push for him in the Tech 3 team? My bet is he wouldn't. So where else does the spoiled Spanish brat go? Ducati?

Please explain how when a kid with raw talent and an unrelenting desire to win is a spoiled Spanish brat? When you are the best, you get the best. Believe me Marquez has definitely earned his keep and if he hadn't, we wouldn't be talking about him right now and he wouldn't be the second most valuable player in motogp when he hasn't even thrown a leg over a MotoGP bike.

"Believe me Marquez has definitely earned his keep". Sorry, but I don't believe you. As was stated earlier he definately has some maturing to do and he hasn't won the Moto2 title yet. Unless, of course, media hype is all that's needed to earn your keep.

I agree, while MM is very talented I don't see him winning the title this year until he starts showing some maturity. I have a feeling he will get another penalty and that will dash his title hopes. He can be a great GP rider but even Rossi has said that his moves are uncalled for and dangerous. Coming from Rossi, the most recent king of hard/questionable moves. That says a lot. The sh!t he pulls in Moto2 won't fly with the big dogs in GP.

This cannot be a good thing for Spies. To me, it looks like Yamaha are already in SERIOUS talks with others for the second spot. Even though Ben has the talent, he will need to get far better results from here on out to keep any hope of staying on the Factory squad. With his results this year, I do not think any of the Factories will be interested in him. HRC is not going to give him a Factory ride. They have too many options. Lin Jarvis looks disgusted with him.

When I saw this post, I had a slight feeling of anxiety for Spies, more than caring about Lorenzo signing. Figured that was going to happen. He has no reason to leave.

Ducati have to hope that they sort out the engine & give VR / NH a decent bike by laguna, otherwise he will move. If I was his age - in my last few seasons, I'd want a bike that works.
I can see VR to Honda on a one year deal if Ducati can't deliver . He is the logical choice to bring the fight to Lorenzo in '13. I don't believe anyone else can, there are some great prospects - but no one consistent & able to battle. Honda will swallow their pride for results, and because it's a safe bet, Rossi is not a crasher & would be a cheap ride. VR would shift to silence the critics. After that, if VR continues to race, I believe Suzuki would welcome him to their fold. Welll done to Lorenzo on a smart choice.

Does anyone else think that it is quite weird that we are speculating that there is no place for Rossi in other factory teams than Ducati?

Hayden back to Honda for a year before either being bumped by marquez or winning another championship and retiring to sell cars with Earl...

I like your thinking and while I considered that myself, I am surprised to date nobody has mentioned that Spies could end up in HRC for a year.

I know he doesn't have an HRC connection, but the pressure at Yamaha is such that he likely won't stay in their fold and HRC is looking for a supposed one year stop gap. If Spies continues to show potential but not get the results, he would be relatively cheap to sign and it would give him a season on a factory bike so he doesn't feel like he is going backward in his career. If he does well he gets to rebuild his stock and HRC gets to look smart. A short contract affords him flexibility to do any number of things (like rejoin Suzuki in 2014).

If he doesn't impress, HRC still gets a MotoGP dry race winner (only 5 of those left in the class next year and Nick hasn't won since 2006, two formulas ago) on the team for a year with the added excuse that nobody better was interested in a one year contract. HRC also gets credit for hiring a legit rider who hasn't acquitted himself too well as of late but whom everyone knows that with the right equipment and a clear head, is capable of competing with and beating some and occasionally all aliens at numerous tracks.

That being said, if I got to control this fantasy, I would love to see RDP get the HRC ride!

Agreed. Even Stoner thinks its a shame RDP doesn't have the bike he deserves. A one year deal with HRC could be quite interesting, he did get along quite well with the LCR Honda after all. Who knows what he might be able to accomplish with factory material.

Rossi has one goal and one goal only and that is to write his name in the history books as the greatest rider of all time, he has three sessions from this goal winning a 1/3 of the races each year. i believe he has learned his lesson and will gladly go to honda at a pay cut even, just to get the hardware needed to win. this is ideal with the ill form of the ducati if he can't get in under control by this summer. and should rossi move to honda it will be dani last year there not rossi's.

Who is the bozo that signed Bradley "I haven't even had a Moto2 podium in ages" Smith to a MotoGP contract? Remind me to not have that guy manage my retirement. His crystal ball is WHACKED.

Cpsmith835, you took the words right out of my mouth. Why is everyone so focused on Smith coming to the Tech 3 camp. He is not showing any sort of Moto GP potential at all. I'd like to see Cal and Nicky switch places to be honest.

Well like it or not he has a contract agreed with Poncheral to be in MotoGP in 2013.

As far as not podiuming in 2012 goes, the Tech3 chassis is just not as developed as the Suters and Kalexes. It shows his results last year were much better than anyone seems to be giving him credit for, something Herve must have recognised early on. What did former world champ DiMeglio achieve on that bike?

For some reason ever since the announcement that Smith would be in MotoGP with Tech3 in 2013 I have had a niggling gut feeling it will be on an R1 engined CRT built by Guy Coulon and not an M1.

Maybe they are already secretly working on a CRT entry - this would also explain why they've not introduced any updates to their Moto2 bike since they knew they were uncompetitive from the very first preseason tests.

The more I think about this it does seem like a sensible development from their Moto2 project where, just like Moriwaki, they are no longer competitive because they suffer from slower chassis development due to a lower cash flow and fewer riders giving feedback than the many customer funded Suters and Kalexes it competes against.

Worth some digging David?

is a good idea. They need somebody to keep Marc "the boy who can do no wrong, even when he is very wrong" Marquez's seat warm for 2014. And Spies is likely to be out on his ear after this year and desperately needs to prove himself and the HRC is no Yamaha, but it's no Harley either. If Ben does well on the HRC bike, then it's Pedrosa who doesn't have a chair when the music stops next year. Spies still has an upside, Pedrosa does not, other than being Spanish, but that Marqueze guy ummm.... The only remaining question is whether Ben's mom is meaner that Puig. The jury's still out on that one.

Rossi to HRC is another possibility. Rossi doesn't want to eat crow and admit he couldn't solve the bike Stoner could, but he also doesn't want to slink off into retirement a beaten man. And HRC doesn't want to hire him back, but with no Stoner, HRC has nobody that can beat George. So uneasy bedfollows there, but bedfellows nonetheless.

I'm a bit puzzled that Dave Emmet does not seem to have cited HRC boss Nakamoto's stance on Rossi. He said in the article referenced for other reasons in this report that Rossi can't go back to the factory but is welcome to join a satellite team. When Dave says that "it is believed" that head office would veto a Rossi factory ride, does he not mean that Nakamoto has categorically said he cant return to the factory or is he suggesting that Nakamoto would be open to the iðea but that his higher ups would overrule him? I think its important to establish that if it's possible to do so. At the very least, what Nakamoto has said to reporters on the subject should be cited. Also, when Dave says that HRC is still stinging from what Rossi wrote about them in his autobiography, does he know that for a fact or is this just some form of poetic licence? Is somebody in Honda on record as having said as much to him (or off the record,  it were)? I don't see how you can write a report on this without referencing Nakamoto's exact words on the subject. They are there in the gpone article Dave links to and also in a Marca article published the day of the Catalunya GP

A lot of people are posting here talking about a possible Rossi return to HRC. Are they doing that in spite of Nakamoto's statement or in ignorance of it?

I would be surprised to hear of any Honda corporate making public statements. There might be off the record gossip that filters around Nakamoto to paddock individuals but I gather the hierarchy has everything flow from corporate through Nakamoto's mouth or parallel through Suppo with Nakamoto's knowledge. Who knows what the internal conversation is at Honda? If going by Nakamoto pre and post Stoner announcement regarding Rossi he has been very diplomatic with his words. He never said never but did make statements about how they were not interested or that he isn't needed for their plans. My hunch? Nakamoto is all business. The way he spoke of releasing Dovi and how he spoke of having Dani and Casey in the same team tells me he's not building a family or glee club. If Honda corporate said "get Rossi" he would extend every courtesy and if the said "fawk Rossi" he'd go find the largest spanner and some lube to carry out the directive.

"Para el equipo de fábrica es muy difícil que vuelva otra vez pero como equipo satélite la puerta está abierta para él", reconoce Nakamoto, sin ningún rencor. Pero envía un mensaje al italiano por si se interesa: "Nuestra máquina de fábrica y la satélite comienzan con las mismas especificaciones. Pero luego las oficiales van probando cosas y, si funcionan, con retraso, van llegando a las satélites. Si Valentino está contento con este sistema él podrá disfrutar de una moto en uno de nuestros equipos satélite"

Translation: it would be really difficult for him to return to the factory team but as a satellite rider, the door is open to him ... Our factory and satellite bikes start off with the same specs. But then the official riders try stuff and, if it works, it eventually makes its way to the satellite teams. If Valentino is happy with this system, he can have a bike in one of our satellite teams."

Granted, he hasn't said "never" but the way that reads to me is that Rossi is not going to get on the factory team.

I think that the value of Stoner is now coming to the fore. He has always been in the shadow of the others and been undervalued.
Now there is a vacancy that no one else can fill and if Honda want the title, there is only one person who will give it to them for the next two years.

I could be wrong, But Casey will be given an offer he cannot refuse (including respect long overdue) and he will stay next year. Dani will finish his career next year as number three and will be replaced in 2014 by Marc M.

Stoner maybe is learning the game, and I think you will find that he is being very business like in showing the Motogp, the factories and especially the fans of his talent and worth.

$15,000,000 package for winning back to back title and the possibility of equalling Mick Doohan?

Anything is possible.

It's quite clear that money isn't the main interest for Stoner. He is a pure racer and just doesn't like the direction MotoGP is taking. We will definitely not see him in 2013, but depending on how the series develops it's quite possible that he makes a return later.

I think that something strange is happening! Think about it, why is Jorge signed an extension so early in the season? He said he would consider all options and make a decision in September. Why the rush? His seat wasn't in danger.

He's twenty points ahead of Stoner in the championship right now whereas by September who knows what could have happened? His bargaining position is very strong now. Better to tie things up now while it is. What do you think explains it?

O.K. it is possible, but I think there is more to it. I think that rookie rule will be axed, and that Marc Marquez is coming to Repsol Honda. Repsol has great relation with both riders. Also, I think that Honda did not make serious proposal to Lorenzo knowing that Repsol will be happy to have Pedrosa and Marquez in team. Honda needs Repsol to be happy because, if I'm not mistaken, this is the year for contract renewal between those two parties.

You said it's strange that Lorenzo signed now instead of after the summer break because earlier he said that he would wait till then. What has any of that got to do with Honda? Even if Honda didn't make a serious bid to speak to him, why would he still not wait till September if that was his original plan? Nothing you have said above explains his decision to sign now as opposed to in September.

He was clearly expecting an offer from Honda.

He said before Le Mans race: "I've always said that I want to finish my career with Yamaha, and I haven't changed my mind."

And the discussion seemed to end there, until the Spaniard added: "For the moment. Right now I have to consider ever offer presented to me, and there is no reason to rush. I need to calmly decide which is best, as I always did when signing new contracts throughout my career. But for sure this situation won't affect my riding out on track."

Then one day before Catalunya race: "The only offer I have at the moment is from Yamaha, and I'm not in a hurry from that point of view,"

Ten days later Yamaha has confirmed the extension of Jorge Lorenzo’s contract to ride for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team for 2013 and 2014. It's seem strange to me.

"What has any of that got to do with Honda? Even if Honda didn't make a serious bid to speak to him, why would he still not wait till September if that was his original plan? " you wrote. I think that he was waiting and expecting an offer from Honda which either did not came or has not been what he was expecting, and so he decided that Yamaha is the best option for him. If that is the case, why wait? He made ​​a reasonable decision and signed the papers immediately and now he can focus on the championship.

Oh, almost forgot, One of the things that make me to think like that is Mr. Nakamoto's interview on 7th June, he said: Yes, I have already spoken to Jorge’s manager here in Barcelona as he wanted to see me. Not a negotiation but just introducing ourselves. That is quite normal to see someone, when he asks to see you. Valentino hasn’t called so I have not seen him. Of course I will speak with Dani soon.