After all the speculation about Max Biaggi, another ex-MotoGP star is now being named as making a return to the world's premier racing series after a year of absence. US magazine RoadRacingWord is reporting that Alex Barros may be riding in the MotoGP next year. The story quotes Ronald ten Kate, team manager of the highly successful Winston Ten Kate Superbike team, saying that they had been unable to agree on terms with Barros to ride one of their Honda CBR1000RRs for next season, and that Barros is likely to take a ride in MotoGP, either on the Ilmor or the Kawasaki.
This means that both Biaggi and Barros are being linked with the most publicly open seats left in MotoGP. This lends credence to the rumors that Shinya Nakano will be leaving Kawasaki at the end of this season, most probably to ride the Konica Minolta Honda for JIR. Ilmor are known to be in the market for riders to pilot their V4 800 next year, although Garry McCoy looks like a 90% certainty to take on bike. But there is some doubt that Ilmor can afford the exorbitant salary which Barros is reputed to demand, with Ilmor being on a tightly-controlled budget.
A move to Kawasaki would also be a gamble, as Kawasaki is the only major manufacturer which is yet to unveil its 800 bike for 2007. Kawasaki Heavy Industry's refusal to give the bike a public outing has fueled speculation that the bike is nowhere near ready, and will start the new season at a distinct disadvantage. Only time will tell.