Suzuki Close To Deal With Capirossi And Vermeulen
Another couple of pieces in the MotoGP rider merry-go-round may be finalized this weekend. According to reports over at Motorcycle News, Suzuki is likely to extend Loris Capirossi's deal this weekend, and is close to renegotiating a deal with Chris Vermeulen. Capirossi is likely to be the first deal to be officially announced, as Paul Denning, Rizla Suzuki's team manager, told MCN "to all intents and purposes Suzuki and Loris want to move forward," which could mean an announcement could be made this weekend in Italy.
Vermeulen's case is a little more complex. Both the Rizla Suzuki team and Vermeulen himself are keen to continue the relationship, but after Vermeulen fell short of a performance requirement which would have guaranteed a new deal, Suzuki in Hamamatsu, Japan and Vermeulen have been haggling over financial terms. Reports say that Suzuki has offered Vermeulen less than half his current salary, something which Vermeulen is understandably unhappy with. But Vermeulen is known to be very keen on staying in MotoGP, despite having several options in World Superbikes next year, reportedly including an offer of the factory Ducati. As a result, Vermeulen may be looking at accepting the pay cut, but seeking an improved package of performance-related bonuses.
Once both Suzuki seats are tied up, then the focus of the market will shift towards the satellite Hondas and Ducatis. There are lots of names associated with those 6 rides, including the American Ben Spies, Alex de Angelis, Mika Kallio, Marco Simoncelli, Shinya Nakano, Niccolo Canepa, and others, and none of them have been clearly settled. After Misano, things should start to firm up a little, but it looks like this could go down close to the end of the year.