With Valentino Rossi out until after the summer, the race is on to find a replacement. But with MotoGP bikes becoming ever more specialized, that's not as simple as it sounds. Most speculation so far has centered on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, with Colin Edwards the name most commonly linked to the Fiat Yamaha ride. An announcement had been expected to the effect that Edwards would be replacing Rossi on Friday afternoon after FP1 at Silverstone, but the decision is still on hold.
When asked by MotoMatters.com, both Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis and Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal confirmed that no decision had yet been made. "We have had many, many meetings," Jarvis said, "But we are still not decided."
The problem was the difficulty in finding a suitable candidate, Jarvis said, confirming what Herve Poncharal had told MotoMatters.com earlier in the week. "Trying to find a replacement is like dominoes," Jarvis explained, pointing out that taking someone from Tech 3 would merely move the problem further along, leaving the difficulty of finding someone else to fill in at Tech 3.
Taking someone from World Superbikes had been one option considered. Cal Crutchlow had been linked to the ride, but the difficulties facing someone coming in from WSBK would be almost insurmountable. "It would be very difficult for them, having to learn the Bridgestones, the tracks, and the Yamaha M1." Moreover, pulling a rider from one championship to ride in the other would also leave Yamaha with a problem filling the ride in World Superbikes.
The problem of replacing Rossi was extremely intractable. "We have considered many, many options," Jarvis said, "But it's a very difficult situation."