Bautista In Talks With Suzuki For 2010, Simoncelli To Gresini?

Regardless of the outcome of this year's 250cc championship, that series' two biggest names will be leaving for greener pastures at the end of the year. Both Alvaro Bautista and Marco Simoncelli intend to step up a class for the 2010 season, though they seem set to go in quite different directions.

The man whose future seems clearest is Alvaro Bautista. For according to the Spanish website, Bautista is in negotiations to join the Rizla Suzuki team in 2010. is reporting that representatives for the Spanish 250 star have been talking to Paul Denning about joining Suzuki, as Bautista is determined to sign with a factory team, which leaves Suzuki as the only option. The Hamamatsu factory was given a dispensation from the so-called Rookie Rule which prevents riders eligible for the Rookie Of The Year award from going straight to a factory team, as Suzuki only fields two bikes and does not have a satellite squad which they can use to nurture newcomers to the class. 

According to, Bautista is most likely to be replacing Chris Vermeulen at Suzuki, as the Australian has an offer from another team for next season, though the site does not say which team that might be. Like Bautista, Vermeulen is keen to remain on factory equipment, and at the moment, there are appear to be very few factory seats open.

Bautista was in talks with Suzuki last year about switching to MotoGP for this season, but the Man From La Mancha (Bautista is from Talavera de la Reina, in Spain's Castilla-La Mancha region) decided to stay on a year in the 250 class after losing the title to Marco Simoncelli. But Bautista is also a protege of Jorge Martinez, boss of the Aspar squad, and Martinez is keen to hang on to the Spaniard. To this end, Martinez is in talks with Yamaha about obtaining satellite M1 machines for the 2010 season, though the success of this approach will depend on whether the proposal to allow riders just one bike at each race actually makes more bikes available than the four that Yamaha currently fields.

As for Marco Simoncelli, it is an open secret that Aprilia want the Italian superstar to ride their RSV4 machine in World Superbikes next season, even offering Simoncelli a wildcard in World Superbikes earlier this year. Aprilia is furious with Dorna and the MSMA with the way decisions were made about the Moto2 class, the Italian factory's plans to field a V Twin thwarted by the class moving to a 600cc four cylinder engine, a configuration Aprilia has neither the experience nor the interest in building.

But Simoncelli is yet to be convinced. The Italian feels he is still young enough to take a chance in the MotoGP class, and is linking Simoncelli to the Gresini Honda squad. Simoncelli shares his manager with Alex de Angelis, who will no doubt be talking to Fausto Gresini about Simoncelli's future. 

It remains to be seen how Simoncelli's close friendship with Valentino Rossi plays out. There is no doubt about Rossi's influence with Yamaha, and the internet is rife with rumors linking Simoncelli with Yamaha, and especially Herve Poncharal's Tech 3 Yamaha squad. So far, these are very much still rumors, and as virtual as the world which spawned them. Silly season has started very early in 2009.

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That source doesn't seem very reliable to me though. It may serve for some nice rumours, but I don't think they are based on many true bits, if any. Especially since none of the other usual suspects published any quick rumours about it.

Bautista has stated more than once that his priority would be to join a factory team, but he is also very loyal to Jorge Martinez and made it clear that he would intend to stay with him if in any way possible. And with Aspar picking up negotiations again and declaring that "it looks very good at the moment" I believe that an Aspar Yamaha is the most likely combination next year - and right now it looks like there's more to gain with a satellite Yamaha (possibly even with factory support) than with a Suzuki.

As for Simoncelli, I think his "friendship" with Valentino is way overplayed in the media and to me it always looked a little one-sided to be honest. They might go motocrossing on the same track, but that is not the same as putting pressure on your team to get a certain rider in. I seriously doubt that would happen.

But anyhow, all for the fun of silly season. :P

Rumor or not, I would love to see Simoncelli go to Aprilia WSBK. I've discussed this a bit on the MotoGPMatters forum under Silly Season 2010. It would be a huge coup for Aprilia, and for WSBK.

For Aprilia, it would put MotoGP's hottest 250 prospect on their flagship superbike, with a year of development under it's belt. Simoncelli would be top dog at Aprilia on a factory superbike, and he would easily be considered a potential front-runner for the WSBK title in 2010. In MotoGP, his best bet would be Tech-3 or Gresini. With either team, the best he could hope for would be a few podiums and maybe a surprise win at the most.

For WSBK, Simoncelli would be the second straight top prospect they'd snatch from under MotoGP's nose (Ben Spies being the first). He would increase the value of WSBK's rider talent pool considerably.

I cannot keep track on the 2009/10 silly season, but I do offer the following. Ben Spies has made it clear that he wants to be in MotoGP. After he signed with Yamaha for WSBK, a lot of people talked about how it was a combo-deal: one year in WSBK and then MotoGP the next year. Whether he wins the WSBK championship or not, he has made a huge impression and has the support of many to move to MotoGP. And being connected to Yamaha almost forces him to be on the Tech 3 team (rookie rule).

Dorna wants Toseland to stay in MotoGP.

Max Biaggi has impressed on the RSV4, and although his retainer is significant, I think that Aprilia might try to keep him because of his (excellent) experience on the bike. Nakano is another story, and I agree with the good doctor that they will be pushing hard to get Simoncelli. An experienced winner + a super hot rookie = a tried-and-true success.