The Misano round of MotoGP in just over a week will see a host of changes at the CRT end of pit lane, as teams reevaluate ahead of the final part of the season. Perhaps the least surprising swap is that of the IODA Racing team, who are dropping their own IODA racing machine - an Aprilia powerplant housed in a steel trellis frame built by the team themselves - in favor of the Suter BMW bike currently being raced by NGM Forward's Colin Edwards. Petrucci's biggest complaint all year has been a lack of top speed, sometimes as much as 50 km/h to the factory MotoGP bikes and close to 30 km/h to the other CRT machines, so the Italian will be hoping that the much more powerful BMW unit will give him a power boost. Petrucci and IODA tested the BMW at the Vairano circuit just south of Milan in Italy, but the persistent rain meant that Petrucci and Dominique Aegerter got little time on the bike.
While IODA is switching to the Suter, the NGM Forward team is still considering dropping the chassis. Colin Edwards has been extremely vocal in his criticism of the Suter machine, his main complaint being that of the electronics, but after the test at Brno, where Edwards rode the Aprilia ART machine, no definite decision was made. Edwards had liked the power delivery and the electronics, a spokesperson for the team told reporters, but the plan as of last week was to stick with the Suter BMW while a decision was being made. Since then, Eskil Suter, owner of the eponymous engineering firm that produces the chassis, has told both the German media and the official MotoGP.com website that Edwards and Forward would be sticking with the Suter BMW bike until the end of the season. However, sources in Italy continue to report that the Forward team has placed an order for a pair of ART machines with Aprilia, though there was a question mark over whether they would be ready for Misano.
As well as bikes, riders are also being swapped around. Ivan Silva has finally lost his seat in the Avintia Blusens team, after many months of rumors that the team would move Julian Simon up from Moto2. Simon even tested the FTR Kawasaki used by the team at Brno, putting in a few laps before destroying the bike in a major crash. In the end, it was David Salom, currently riding a Kawasaki for the Pedercini team in World Superbikes, who has been pegged to take the place of Silva, Salom alternating between WSBK and MotoGP for the next couple of weekends until the WSBK season ends. Salom's experience with a more fully-developed WSBK Kawasaki is the reason given by the team for switch, though Ivan Silva's tough run of results has not helped his cause. The problem has not been entirely down to Silva: the Spaniard has also been alternating between the aluminium FTR and the carbon fiber Inmotec chassis, evaluating the Inmotec bike and trying to push development of the bike, which has had some limited success as a Moto2 bike in the Spanish CEV championship. With so much swapping around going on, it has been hard for Silva to concentrate on a single bike, and it has shown in his results.
There were also rumors earlier this week that the Speed Master team would be dropping Mattia Pasini in favor of Federico Sandi, rumors which have since been hotly denied by Pasini. He has a contract with the team until the end of the year, Pasini told Italian website InfomotoGP.com, and intends to see that the contract was honored. It seems unlikely that Speed Master would replace a successful 250 and Moto2 rider like Pasini with a rider who has not been particularly impressive in either World Superbikes or the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, but rumors about the team running out of money for the MotoGP team have been circulating for some time. At Brno, some insiders were convinced that the team would not be present at Misano, though as Pasini is from Rimini, just a few miles away from the Misano circuit, that seemed improbable at best. The more likely scenario seems to be that Pasini will race at Misano, with the team continuing on a race-by-race basis.
With a week still to go, things could still change, however. As money starts to run short for many of the teams, more changes could come in the next few weeks.