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MotoGP Silly Season Begins

Friday, August 14, 2009
Ben Spies - World Superbike  Misano
Where will American Ben Spies end up next year? Will it be MotoGP? The young Texan is a world-wide hot prospect these days.
The MotoGP Silly Season is getting into full swing and here is a run-down of what we’ve heard so far.

First off, it’s been no secret that Yamaha has expressed a very keen interest in keeping current World Superbike star rookie Ben Spies happy; whether that means a MotoGP ride next year or staying in WSBK is the big question. Due to the new rules, as a MotoGP rookie, he would have to go to the Monster Tech 3 team. This would most likely be alongside fellow statesman Colin Edwards, whose current teammate, James Toseland, has floundered mid-pack this year and caused nothing but drama within the team, thus he’s most likely out at the end of the year. More than likely Toseland will land back in World Superbike next year. Other riders rumored around the Tech 3 spot include John Hopkins, who has a personal Monster Energy endorsement deal already, and even Nicky Hayden, who’s had a rough year at Ducati.

Yamaha’s WSBK team is also trying everything they can to keep rippin’-fast Texan Spies in his current position with them, so the final decision will undoubtedly fall into Spies’ lap as the talented youngster is the hottest property in road racing today. It’s good to be Ben…

Jerez Test - James Toseland
James Toseland looks set to head back to World Superbike next year after a couple years of lackluster MotoGP results. But the biq question is: Who will take his place?
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP boss Paul Denning was quoted recently as saying they are looking at up-and-coming 250cc GP talent Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista. But with Simoncelli recently singing with the San Carlo Gresini Honda team it would look as if Bautista is a possible shoe-in at Rizla Suzuki. Logically, they would keep the better performing and more experienced Loris Capirossi and let Chris Vermeulen go. Most agree he’s had plenty of time to prove his worth and not performed as they had hoped. Denning was also quoted as saying he would still like to talk to Spies if the Texan was interested, but considering how well Yamaha has treated him and how much more competitive their MotoGP bike is, we doubt he’ll be giving Denning a ring anytime soon.

The other big rumor is Fiat Yamaha superstar Jorge
Jorge Lorenzo - Jerez MotoGP Testing
Big news floating around is that young Spanish star Jorge Lorenzo will replace Dani Pedrosa as the No. 1 rider at Repsol Honda, leaving a spot open on the factory Fiat Yamaha team.
Lorenzo will be going to Honda as their main rider next year. There’s no question that at Yamaha he will always be second in line to Valentino Rossi, thus the temptation of being the No. 1 rider at the factory Repsol Honda team has a big draw for the Spanish rider as his current contract is up at the end of the season. That would most likely leave Dani Pedrosa out of a ride, as his multiple injuries and inability to be the title contender Repsol hoped for has left him unwanted by HRC. Which then begs the question, where would Pedrosa go?

(UPDATE: Hours after this article posted live, HRC announced it will keep Pedrosa and Dovizioso on as the factory Honda pilots for two more seasons - Honda Sticks with Pedrosa and Dovizioso)

Once the Lorenzo/Pedrosa situation is figured out all of the factory-supported spots can fall into place. The second spot on Gresini Honda alongside Simoncelli is still open and a few names are floating around it. Top of the charts is Mark Melandri, who has had some extremely impressive showings on the out-dated Kawasaki ‘thing’ this year and raised some eyebrows in the process. He’s also ridden for them in the past and won for them as well. Current rider Toni Elias is also still in it with a chance, though there is no question Gresini’s current second rider, Alex de Angelis, is out.

Hayden had a rough start to his Ducati career  with a sickening highside in qualifying and running into the gravel trap on Monday. MotoGP - Losail
Nicky Hayden only has a 1-year deal at Ducati and so far it's been a rough ride for the Kentucky Kid. Will he stay in red for 2010?
The Hayate (Kawasaki) team is supposed to fold altogether, though Kawasaki’s deal with Dorna runs through 2011 and will once again cause waves this off-season. Pramac Ducati is another team with question marks surrounding it, as funding for that team seems to change on a regular basis. The same can be said for the Scot Honda team as they have gone through two riders this one season already, though LCR Honda looks set to keep Randy de Puniet so not much change going on there.

For now that’s all, but be sure to keep an eye on these pages for more as we hear it…
2009 MotoGP Gallery
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Rider Bios - MotoGP
Valentino Rossi Bio
The most popular rider on planet earth? His name is Valentino Rossi and he won the '08 MotoGP Championship.
Casey Stoner Bio
The 2007 MotoGP Champion and runner-up in '08, Australian Casey Stoner is a rising star in Grand Prix racing.
Nicky Hayden Bio
The fastest of the Hayden racing brothers, Nicky has left Honda to join the Ducati Marlboro MotoGP team for '09.

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Steve Atlas -RE: Ty - Silly Season  August 15, 2009 12:21 AM
Ty - I can assure you all of the above information comes from reliable intel with the actual MotoGP paddock; not some website run by an armchair hero. This wasn't intended to be an 'analysis' of any kind, just a quick update from those within that world that I personally know and speak to quite often. I'm sure the sites you visit like to speculate on the Silly Season, but it's called 'Silly' for a reason - it changes more than you do your underpants. Trust me I know - I've been both a racer and a journalist. Thus, any kind of actual 'analysis' would be nothing more than rambling. Once we have more solid information then future editorials with quotes and actual facts will follow.
IL Bastardo -Silly season indeed.  August 14, 2009 05:50 PM
Until Lorenzo actually signs no one is set in stone except Simoncelli and possibly Bautista. As far as people coming and going in MotoGP this just might be the biggest year in recent memory. Once Lorenzo actually signs the dominoes will fall fast! Names like Spies, Oyama, Pasini and Barbera are still being bantered about to move into the class and a whole slew of dead wood should be exiting at the same time!
ClarkJW -Plenty of reliable spots for gossip  August 14, 2009 01:32 PM
Steve, there are many reliable spots for MotoGP gossip. I don't wanna disrespect you and post them here, but my name +@gmail.com will if you want.
Sad I missed you at Laguna. Ducati island really was outta the way. Only made it for the $5 shades when you were closing up post race.
See you at Indy! You guys should align with a track day sponsor, just like you've done with SuperStore.
Ty -Silly Season  August 14, 2009 01:32 PM
Steve, nothing personal, but, as a professional moto-journalist, I think you need to be more on-the-ball if you're gonna write about this subject. This article/analysis is missing quite a bit of the "analysis" aspect, which, even if you weren't immersing yourself in actually doing some investigative work (contacting MotoGP insiders, etc.), could easily have been gleaned from doing minimal work of keeping up with MotoGP Matters, MCN, Superbike Planet, etc., if not Spanish and Italian sites Babelfish-ed.
ClarkJW -Pedrosa has NOT signed with HRC  August 14, 2009 01:29 PM
Dani hasn't signed. Lorenzo has NOT signed. A seat swap is still very possible.
Nitin -HRC not for Lorenzo  August 14, 2009 10:28 AM
HRC today announced that Pedrosa and Dovizioso will ride their bike for two more years and that Lorenzo will not get a third bike at honda