Nicky Hayden – Confirmed (Re-signed for 2010 for his second season on the Italian team. He’s had a rough go of it for most of this season, but stronger results have been steadily coming. Let’s hope year two only builds on this and the 2006 MotoGP Champ can come back to form.)
Casey Stoner – Confirmed (Pending a good bill of heath the Australian is in for next year. He has taken the last three races off due to an unknown illness and is set to return at the upcoming round in Portugal. Will be easy to see how the progress is going based on the race result.)
Mika Kallio – Likely to be staying for a second year on the team as long as
Kallio is likely to stay put at Pramac Ducati unless Stoner is still ill. This could possibly put him on the factory team.
Stoner returns in good health to the factory squad. He could be next in line for Stoner’s spot if the Australian isn’t healthy.
Second seat is currently open. Possible candidates include 250cc GP aces Mattia Pasini and Aleix Espargaro. Current San Carlo Honda rider Alex de Angels has also been linked to the spot, but looks the least likely and is rumored around a host of World Superbike rides for next season.
Dani Pedrosa – Confirmed (Re-signed for 2010 after supposed talks with Ducati didn’t pan out.)
Andrea Dovizioso – Confirmed (Re-signed for 2010 for his second year on
the factory squad and his third year in the premiere class.)
Randy de Puniet – Confirmed (Re-signed for 2010.)
Gabor Talmacsi – Looks most likely due to him bringing in Hungarian oil money, but nothing has been signed as of posting.
San Carlo Gresini Honda:
Marco Melandri – Confirmed (After an impressive season on the year-old Kawasaki he will be returning to his old Honda team, one which he has won races
Marco Simoncelli – Confirmed (Completing the all-Italian, all-Marco squad, the former 250cc World Champion should fit well on the MotoGP machines for his rookie season.)
Team and manufacturer will be withdrawing for 2010.
Loris Capirossi – Confirmed (Returning as the series’ elder statesman for his 21st season in Grand Prix racing.)
Alvaro Bautista – Confirmed (Moving up from several successful seasons in 250cc GP for his first year in MotoGP.)
Valentino Rossi – Confirmed (Current deal extends through 2010. Though unhappy with Lorenzo returning there are rumors he may go to Ducati for 2011, possibly making for the ultimate Italian dream team.)
Jorge Lorenzo – Confirmed (Turned down a reported $10 million-plus from Ducati to re-sign for 2010 with Yamaha.)
Monster Yamaha Tech 3:
Both seats are currently open. Looks like Colin Edwards will get
The Tech 3 Yamaha team remains open still, though Edwards is likely to stay. The big question is who will get the second spot?
one of them, though. As for the second spot, a host of riders are lined up for it. Most notably American Ben Spies is still rumored around the spot in a quick move out of World Superbike after his extremely impressive rookie season. Other riders expressing interest include Chris Vermeulen, Toni Elias, a host of 250cc riders, as well as current rider James Toseland; though it looks like he will be going back to World Superbike. This will be the team to watch as they will likely be the last big player to fall into place.
Jorge Martinez Ducati:
Hector Barbera – Confirmed (Jorge Martinez will get a single customer Ducati for 2010 and 250cc GP front runner Barbera, who currently riders for Martinez’s 250GP team, will move up to the top class for his rookie season.)
With only 17 riders confirmed thus far, MotoGP rights holder Dorna has been making a hard push to get more teams and riders on the grid so as to fulfill their obligation with the FIM to produce the proper number of bikes, otherwise they could potentially lose the promotional rights to the series. There are talks Kevin Schwantz is working on a Honda satellite team, while several other small squads are trying to pull funding together, including one thought to be using the three-cylinder engine that had originally been developed for BMW when they had contemplated getting into MotoGP.