Since the middle of last year, speculation has rumbled on concerning the possible fate of Dani Pedrosa at the factory Repsol Honda team. It has been widely rumored that Pedrosa's future at Honda depends on his results this year, and it has even been hinted that Repsol could pull out of MotoGP altogether.
Fortunately for Honda and for MotoGP, the rumors that Repsol could pull out of sponsoring the series can be safely consigned to the waste disposal unit. During the filming of a commercial for the Spanish oil giant at Spain's National Institute for Aerospace Technology, Arturo Sus, Vice-Director of Repsol Sports Sponsorship told the Spanish press agency EFE that MotoGP is the company's flagship racing series, and that the company will be remaining with Honda for the foreseeable future.
Some of the speculation about Repsol's future had arisen due to the oil giant's reduced budget for four-wheeled racing. Last year, Repsol had sponsored two cars in the GP2 series, but had cut its backing to supporting just the Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari in the Renault spec World Series formula, along with the factory Seat team in the World Touring Car Championship. "We can't deny that the 2009 budgets for car sponsorship have been reduced," Sus admitted. "But our Honda HRC team in MotoGP remains a strategic pillar of our Repsol sponsorship. It's our flagship project, and it costs what it costs, even though it's true that we need to tighten up were can."
Sus was equally clear about who they would be supporting. "We are betting on Pedrosa and we will support him for as long as it takes. And we have been with Honda for 14 years, and continued with them even after (Alex) Criville retired. This hasn't changed nor do we believe it will change," Sus said.
But Repsol's sponsorship boss also made it clear what their strategy was in general. Speaking of their sponsorship with Alguersuari, Sus stated "We don't much believe in personal sponsorship. It's not part of our strategy, and even though the World Series project is for one year with Jaime Alguersuari, if the results go as we hope, it's possible that it could have an interesting future. But the continuation of the project depends upon results, and on having a Spanish driver."