As the MotoGP silly season hit full swing around July, the one name that was on everyone's lips was that of Marco Simoncelli, the man who went on to win the 250cc title. Rumors were rife about who had offered the young Italian a contract, and great was the surprise when Simoncelli announced that he would be staying in 250s for next year. Since then, speculation has abounded about just who was offering what to Simoncelli to move up to MotoGP.
In the latest issue of the Italian Riders magazine, Simoncelli reveals just what was on offer. The Tech 3 Yamaha team were the first to approach Simoncelli, Carlo Pernat, the Italian's manager, told the magazine. "Then came an offer from Ducati, for either the factory or for the satellite team. And finally, both Honda Gresini and Suzuki were interested," Pernat said. The salary he turned down? One million dollars.
"I don't want to serve another apprenticeship year," Simoncelli stated, in explanation of why he turned down the offers. "If I keep on going as fast again next year, the offers will still be there."
Simoncelli also revealed where his nickname - Super Sic - came from, and with it, a clue to the improvement in his form in 2008. "Sic isn't an abbreviation of Simoncelli," Aligi Deganello, his crew chief revealed. "It's an acronym for Sbattersene I Coglioni (an extremely anatomical Italian phrase translated very loosely as taking it to the limit - Ed.) We decided, after two bad years, we had to roll up our sleeves, silence the critics and open the gas."
Simoncelli's decision may seem strange at first, but a closer look at the state of the 250 class, and particularly it's future, seems to vindicate his choice. With the 250cc class winding down, and fewer entrants than ever into the series, the talent pool in 250s is drying up, in anticipation of the new four-stroke 600cc formula which is slated to replace it. With MotoGP bosses still not entirely convinced of the merits of World Superbikes as a feeder class for the series, the teams may decided to play it safe for a year, and nurture the talent they have, rather than looking elsewhere for new blood.
Of the few places likely to become vacant in MotoGP over the next couple of years, Marco Simoncelli is assured of one spot, while Spanish rival Alvaro Bautista can be sure of another. The rest of the teams may resort to treading water, waiting for both the financial crisis and the drought of young talent to sort itself out.