Pasini To Swap Places With Talmacsi?

With Gabor Talmacsi having severed his contract with the Aspar team, speculation is flying about where the Hungarian will end up. Reports at the start of the weekend suggested Talmacsi could join Team Scot in MotoGP, bringing much needed sponsorship to the team. Under this arrangement, Talmacsi would get one of Yuki Takahashi's two bikes, a move which may be looked on favorably by Dorna, as it not only fills out the grid, but also allows the organization to test out the concept of a single bike for each rider, as proposed for next year.

The other option now being discussed is Sete Gibernau's Grupo Francisco Hernando bike. With Gibernau out for at least one and probably two races with a broken collarbone, Talmacsi would be a prime candidate to sit in for the Spanish veteran. Indeed, Gibernau's injury - a fracture in his left collarbone, Gibernau's weak spot and an injury which has already caused him to retire once - could well make the Spaniard reflect on his decision to return to racing, and consider whether he is truly physically capable of racing at this level. If Gibernau does withdraw, then Talmacsi could conceivably slot right into the Spanish veteran's seat, though Talmacsi's alliance with a rival Spanish construction firm may well rule this out. The most likely rider to fill Gibernau's boots though is Fonsi Nieto, who is both Spanish - a factor of cardinal importance for the team's Spanish sponsor - and related to the Pablo and Gelete Nieto who run the team.

But Talmacsi could also remain in the 250 class. Speculation that Talmacsi will stay in 250s is being fueled by the goings on in the Team Toth hospitality unit on Saturday night. According to the Spanish website, Jorge Martinez was seen in the Toth hospitality engaged in deep discussion with Imre Toth, head of Team Toth, Aspar Sporting Director Gino Borsoi, and Stefano Favaro, Gabor Talmacsi's manager. The signicance of this is that Mattia Pasini, currently riding for Team Toth, is not happy with the team, and would welcome a way out. Pasini's manager is currently the coordinator for Talmacsi's Balatonring team, and Imre Toth is Hungarian like Talmacsi, and the team is based in Hungary.

This unusual gathering prompts the suggestion for a simple solution to the problems which Aspar and Talmacsi face: A straight rider swap between Team Toth and Aspar's Balatonring team. The swap faces very few practical obstacles: both Talmacsi and Pasini have factory-spec Aprilia RSA equipment, so no negotiations about material would be needed. Pasini has experience with Aspar, having ridden for the team in 2006, and for Team Toth to have a Hungarian rider of Talmacsi's stature - Talmacsi is one of Hungary's most popular sportsmen, and is widely recognized outside of motorcycle racing circles - would boost their status enormously.

There would only be the small matter of sponsorship. Both teams already have sponsorship, but the question remains over whether the Balatonring circuit would want to continue sponsoring the Aspar team if they have an Italian rider. The construction company behind the project - Grupo Milton - is based in Spain, and so benefits from the link with one of Spain's premier motorcycle racing teams, but the Balatonring track may benefit more by being associated with a Hungarian rider.

Of course, this is currently nothing more than speculation and rumor, and so any discussion of how sponsorship may be divided is incredibly premature. But the simplicity of the solution, swapping Talmacsi and Pasini, is very tempting indeed.

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