Talmacsi Vs Aspar: The State Of Play So Far
Two separate press conferences in two different countries gave two differing views on the conflict which has split the Aspar-backed Balatonring Team in two. In the Hungarian capital Budapest, Gabor Talmacsi spoke to the mainly Hungarian press to explain the circumstances which had led him to take the radical decision to split with his team. At around the same time, Jorge Martinez, boss of the Aspar team, held an impromptu press conference in the Aspar pit garage to explain his side of the story, and how he views the situation. Unsurprisingly, two completely different accounts emerged.
Hungarian journalist Ádám Haraszti and friend of MotoGPMatters.com was present at the Talmacsi press conference, and reported that Talmacsi appeared without his management, but had with him a lawyer who explained the contractual situation: as of Monday, 11 am CET, there is no official contract between Talmacsi and Team Aspar; Talmacsi's management had the right to cancel it.
Talmacsi said that he was pressured to accept contractual changes regarding media rights, sometimes even as he was about to get out on the racetrack. "For example on the first day of the Qatar GP, half an hour before the first session I was told if I don't sign the papers, I won't race at the weekend. I was very upset indeed. I rode FP1 in anger, I think that's why I won that. But I can't allow myself to ride under such influence. I'm going over 200 kph, I risk my life in every moment, I can't let such things happen," Talmacsi told reporters.
The bike should have been present in Jerez, but rumors emanating from Aprilia are that the factory and Aspar haven't even signed an agreement about the bike yet. According to Motorsport Aktuell, the last 250cc Aprilia was given to Russian rider Vladimir Leonov, the factory having ceased production now that the Moto2 class is approaching; As a consequence, there don't even appear to be any bikes left for the Hungarian. The Aspar team contend that there is now a second bike in the Balatonring pit box at Le Mans, but the mechanics say that the bike is nowhere near a 2009 RSA-spec Aprilia, as Talmacsi's first bike is.
In response to Aspar claims that Martinez wants to speak to Talmacsi directly, instead of through his manager, Stefano Favaro, Talmacsi was very clear: "What Stefano thinks is what I think, what he says is what I say. I love to speak with Mr. Martinez about racing, because he was a magnificient rider and has a lot of experience. But I don't care about business, everything related to that is done by Stefano. If he wants to re-sign me, he must speak with Stefano. But anyway, my mobile phone is still turned on at the moment, and Mr. Martinez hasn't called me so far, I haven't even received a single SMS." Talmacsi reiterated that Favaro is not just his manager, but also his closest friend.
Speaking of his future, Talmacsi said his first preference is still to ride for the Aspar team in the 250s. Talmasci said that he had had no problems with the team in the last two years, and his 125cc World Championship was evidence of the quality of their work. When asked about rumors that Favaro was speaking to Scot Honda team owner Cirano Mularoni about a ride in MotoGP, Talmacsi refused to comment, saying only "Stefano is working in Le Mans now to get me back to racing as soon as possible. I don't know anything about any offers yet."
Over in Le Mans, Aspar team boss Jorge Martinez had a different story to tell. "The truth is that I never expected a reaction like this," Martinez said in a statement to the press. " This year, we created a team just for Talmacsi. It has been difficult keeping the project moving forward, but we have continued to work tirelessly to give Gabor the best equipment and support possible. I'm enormously disappointed to find myself caught up in this situation, and I hope that once all this has past, Gabor will think about just how much we have done to support him. I completely disagree with his statements, and if we can't come to an amicable agreement, we will defend our interests with all means necessary. In 28 years in this world, I have never been in a situation like this, and it makes me very sad." Martinez also pointed to Talmacsi's excellent results (10th in Qatar, 4th at Motegi and 7th at Jerez) as proof that Talmacsi was not being provided with substandard equipment.
Martinez also said that he believed Talmacsi was making a serious mistake. "Everyone in their professional life can do what they feel is right. Gabor is a great rider, as shown by his results, but I think that he has made a big mistake and it is a huge pity not to have him at this race," he told reporters. Martinez said he intended to fly to Budapest next week to try and sort out the situation with Talmacsi directly, but he warned that as far as he was concerned, Talmacsi was still under contract to Aspar. "Clearly, Gabor cannot join a new team. We have his rights for this year, and we are going to continue with the Balatonring Team project," Martinez said.