Lorenzo Rumors Increasing: Telefonica Honda In 2010?

The summer break is traditionally the moment that MotoGP's silly season is unleashed in all its fury, and with two more races to go, it is already starting to build up some momentum. At the center of the whirlwind is Jorge Lorenzo, the young Spaniard who has made an astonishing impact in his second season of MotoGP, winning two races and missing out on a podium only once so far this year, when he crashed out at Jerez.

Jorge Lorenzo

Lorenzo's contract with Yamaha runs out at the end of the season, and the Mallorcan seems not to be in too much of a hurry to renew it. In all of his pronouncements so far, Lorenzo has reiterated that Yamaha is his primary option, but that this does not mean that staying with Yamaha is an automatic choice, for either Lorenzo or Yamaha. Rumors about Honda's offer to Lorenzo are growing, and both Yamaha and Lorenzo are engaged in a complex bout of contractual wrestling in a bid for the upper hand in negotiations.

Yamaha boss Masao Furusawa made the factory's position clear in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport recently: Yamaha are keen to hold on to the Spanish prodigy, but not at any price: "We know about Honda's offer," Furusawa told La Gazzetta, "If he wants to go with them, we won't be raising our stakes in order to retain him."

Lorenzo, meanwhile, is clear on his position. Speaking to the Spanish daily AS.com on the subject of the Honda offer, Lorenzo said cryptically "I know what I'm worth, and so does my manager." What was important, said Lorenzo, was that he had the right people to work with, who are supporting him and all working in the right direction. "My time with Yamaha has been like a beautiful movie," Lorenzo said. "We'll have to see whether the movie is going to continue, or whether it will come to an end."

The key to Lorenzo's situation is likely to revolve less around money and more around control. But this problem remains whether he stays with Yamaha or switches to Honda. At Yamaha, Valentino Rossi holds the undisputed number 1 status, but so far, that has not troubled Lorenzo, as the team has offered both riders pretty much the same support. Rossi is also adept at developing bikes which suit all types of riding styles and many different riders, a problem which other manufacturers have struggled with.

But Lorenzo is thought to have joined Yamaha planning to take Valentino Rossi's place once the Italian legend retires, something he had announced he was likely to do at the end of the 2010 season. But as this season has progressed, Rossi has made more and more noises about how he is enjoying racing again, and that he could stay for maybe another 2 seasons after 2010, taking him through to 2012. That would give Rossi enough time to beat Giacomo Agostini's record for both the number of Grand Prix victories (122, or 123 if you include a Formula 750 race, as Ago likes to do) and the total number of MotoGP championships (Agostini has 8, Rossi currently has 6).

Rossi has shown himself to be a keen historian, and all to aware of his own place in it, and those two records are high on his list of targets. With Rossi staying on longer than expected, Lorenzo could end up losing his patience waiting for the "old man" to go. His own ambitions at a world title make leaving to join another factory a very tempting prospect indeed.

But Honda may not be as attractive a prospect as Lorenzo may have hoped for. For Honda is currently synonymous with another Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa's position had earlier been thought to be growing increasingly tenuous at the factory Repsol Honda team, after Pedrosa looked like failing once again to deliver the world championship that Honda - and more significantly, Spanish petroleum giant Repsol - have been demanding the past few years. Recently, however, Honda boss Shuhei Nakamoto has made it clear that the reason for Pedrosa's failure has been down to Honda not producing a winning bike, rather than any shortcoming from the rider.

The solution currently doing the rounds in MotoGP's rumor mills is for Lorenzo to join a one-man Honda team of his own with full backing from HRC, similar to the Nastro Azzurro team which fielded Valentino Rossi in his first year of the premier class. The team would be backed by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, who withdrew from MotoGP in 2005 in a fit of pique, after the rider they had been grooming for MotoGP glory for several years - Lorenzo's main rival Dani Pedrosa - joined the Repsol Honda team, leaving Telefonica out in the cold.

The rumors of Telefonica backing a separate team for Jorge Lorenzo are being reported both in the Italian weekly Moto Sprint and in the Spanish magazine Solo Moto, and so are likely to have some substance to them. But even in an HRC-backed team, this would still leave Lorenzo with similar problems and more to the ones he faces at Yamaha. Dani Pedrosa remains Honda's main development focus, and so far, there is no reason to doubt this will continue.

Making the Honda switch less attractive is the fact that the RC212V has so far been thoroughly outclassed, first by Ducati's Desmosedici, and now by Yamaha's M1. Unless Honda get back on track and make some more decisive steps in development, a jump to an HRC-backed team may not necessarily be the guarantee of success it once was. Lorenzo would have to start a whole new set of battles with HRC once he arrived on a Honda, and would have to dislodge Pedrosa from atop the development tree.

Dani Pedrosa and Alberto Puig at Laguna Seca

That may be a problem that solves itself. For parallel to the rumors of Lorenzo's move to Honda comes speculation about the future of Pedrosa himself. Honda have thrown their hat into the ring, declaring they would like to keep the diminutive Spaniard, but Pedrosa and his mentor and manager Alberto Puig have been far less forthcoming. 

Puig has even hinted at other offers inside the paddock. When asked by Solo Moto about the fact that Pedrosa's contract is up at the end of the season, Puig said "We shall see. It's not a subject we worry too much about. It's obvious that this [Pedrosa - Ed.] is a guy who is not going to be left without a ride, because there are plenty of people in the paddock who understand motorcycle racing. And people know which are the riders who are worth having."

Puig was quick to emphasize that their priorities lay with Honda. This was a project they all believed in, and the Repsol Honda team is a team which has proven time and time again that they are capable of delivering the best bike on the grid. Puig said that he was sure that Honda could do it again, as long as they listened to Pedrosa and used his feedback to build a better bike. Dani, said Puig, was waiting for Honda to respond.

Puig told Solo Moto that a decision would not be made quickly. When asked how much time he would give Honda, Puig responded "When does the championship finish?" That did not necessarily mean that they would leave if Pedrosa failed to win a title, though. It was, Puig emphasized, all a matter of having confidence and faith.

The most intriguing comment that Puig made contained an implicit link to the fate of Lorenzo. When pushed on what happens when that faith runs out, Puig said "There comes a point at which you say, we believe in this, but .... The priority is for Dani to be on a good ride. Who will he ride with? We hope that these people [Honda - Ed.] will build a fantastic bike, which we all believe they are capable of doing. If for whatever reason they are not interested in Dani, there are others who are interested in him. If we were to sign with another team? It's always the way that if someone leaves one place, another one fills his place. And swapping places is sometimes a good thing to do."

The comment about swapping places is the most intriguing part of that interview. It is all too easy to conclude that if Pedrosa were to leave Honda, his place would be taken by someone else, who would in turn leave an empty seat for Pedrosa to fill. And given that the man most frequently tipped to take Pedrosa's place at Honda is Jorge Lorenzo, Puig may be hinting that the logical place for Pedrosa to go would be the garage vacated by Lorenzo at Fiat Yamaha.

Back to top

Comments

If Pedrosa remains at the Repsol team and Lorenzo is given factory support under Telefonica, isn't Repsol likley to bolt altogether, leaving the team with no sponsor?

I mean, if Repsol wants a champsionship and they want it with a Spanish rider, wouldn't they be more than a little concerned that another Sponsor got the Spaniard who seems most likely to bring home that championship?

Total votes: 132

Great post, as always! Just a point, though. Last comment from Puig would be better translated like this (IMHO):

"There comes a point at which you say, we believe in this, but .... The priority is for Dani to heal completely. Who will he ride with? We hope that these people [Honda - Ed.] will build a fantastic bike, which we all believe they are capable of doing. If for whatever reason they are not interested in Dani, there are others who will be interested in him. What do they want, sign up a different rider? It's always the way that if someone leaves one place, another one fills his place. And swapping places is sometimes not a bad thing to do."

In any case, it doesn´t change the core of the matter...However, I´d prefer these guys (Lorenzo and Pedrosa) staying in their places for another year, and see how everything develops...

Total votes: 123

Thanks a lot for the correction, I struggled a little with the translation of that one. It makes a little more sense like that. Appreicate it! 

Total votes: 131

If Lorenzo does want to leave Yamaha (and I don't think he should), and if Repsol and Telefonica are in some kind of bidding war for his services, someone should be looking toward Suzuki.  Perhaps with a bigger injection of cash from a motivated Spanish sponsor, Suzuki would have more resources available to dedicate to the project.  And, perhaps even enough to allow Rizla's small contributions to be the platform for a satellite team?

I would be most intrigued by a Telefonica-Suzuki bike, ridden by Pedrosa and sans-Puig.  I can't see how being the Repsol Honda #1 would be good for Lorenzo, though.  That bike is too far developed for Pedrosa, and Dovizioso seems to be benefitting from that, now.

Total votes: 111

Personally I'd love to see a direct seat swap of Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Should make for some interesting racing next season and Rossi looks like he's treating Pedrosa like a Edwards 2.0 buddy already. ;)

But it is really hard to imagine Pedrosa on any other bike than a Honda. He's their golden boy and the one who's supposed to bring them the title again and they might not want to give up on all the years they spent with him and built him up. To me the only real option for him to leave Honda would be going straight to Yamaha, taking Lorenzo's seat. But for that situation there are a lot of stones in the way and it still seems somewhat unlikely, though not impossible anymore.

Btw, Pedrosa himself said in the TVE show "MotoGP Club" after Laguna (paraphrasing) that he will have to see which is the best bike for him next season and this might be Honda, but if another machine looks to be better, then he won't rule out leaving Honda.

Total votes: 144

"But it is really hard to imagine Pedrosa on any other bike than a Honda". Pedrosa has a long history with Honda but not nearly as long as Nicky Hayden. Look what he ended up doing.

Total votes: 138

It's not just the history, but what expectations Honda place in Pedrosa. I can't remember Hayden ever being Honda's golden boy except for right after he won the championship and he lost that status again soon.

And I didn't just mean MotoGP, I meant Dani's whole career. He's always been with Honda since he started in 2001 and he won three titles with them. They seem to like keeping their riders around and build them up from the start if possibly. Kinda like Dovizioso who's not only been with Honda all the time, but even with the same team. It's often said that you don't leave Honda and come back, that is just very rarely the case.
I believe there's a difference if you came directly to MotoGP on a Honda, practically as a "made rider" with plenty of experience, or if they built you up since you've been 15. Riding a Honda in the AMA is not the same in my opinion.

Total votes: 124

If it weren't for his crashes/injuries Dani would be within a shout of the title right now. There is nothing wrong with the Honda (for Dani) and a move to another bike is a gamble at best. The same with Lorenzo, he keeps crashing,, otherwise he would be leading the championship. Boys, stay with your teams! the grass is not greener on the other side! Both bikes are capable of winning it all. Both of YOU have NOT proved that your consistency is worth your egos or a bigger pay check. ,,just like last year, injuries and crashes are the problem, nothing else.

Total votes: 128

With all due respect, Lorenzo would NOT be leading without his crash. The reason is simple: If not for Lorenzo's crash, he would have a possible additional 16 points (making the assumption that he would have passed Stoner at Jerez, which I believe he'd have accomplished) more for Jerez, but remember, that was a plain and simple dry-weather mistake. It was NOT done on a set of changing conditions, and that "if" scenario would also have to include the point that...

While on the subject of "if"s, if there hadn't been those brilliant-performance-nullifying abortions commonly referred to as "flag to flag", Rossi would have an additional 16-25 for Le Mans(which WAS a premature decision on Rossi's part, but it was a changing-weather condition that cost him a podium), as well as a guaranteed 9 more points for Mugello, which he had easily won before switching bikes.

That puts Lorenzo picking up an additional 16 points, and Rossi picking up 25-34 more points. So, if not for the stupid weather situations that nullified his clearly superior performances, Rossi would be leading by a further 9 to 18 points.

Speaking of Dani, I agree that he would be closer to the top without injuries, but I'm not aware of a time he's won a raging dogfight with Rossi...and I can't call to mind one he's won with Casey or Jorge, either. Dani has gotten to the front and run away, but no intense dogfight that I can recall. If there's a case of him beating Rossi in such a manner, please tell me, but I'm not aware of one. His win at Laguna was impressive, absolutely so, but it was NOT a duel, which seems to derail the rides/stategies of all but Jorge(who is the absolute best dogfighter in the "Casey, Dani, Jorge Trio"). Jorge doesn't rely on the "get away" tactic, and I find that so HUGELY admirable. If Jorge switches to any other team, I think it'll put paid to his chances of a championship until Rossi retires, but I believe him to be a lot smarter than that.

Again, with all due respect, as much as I like him, I don't think Dani will win a championship--at least not before Rossi retires. After Rossi retires, I believe Jorge is a better all-arounder, as he is THE dueler between the two of them. I also have to admit that, while not exactly being angry about it or anything, I really used to think that Dani being so light would give him an unfair advantage, at least in terms of acceleration. Having more than a 5% weight advantage would send the whole F1 world into fits of uncontrollable rage, yet in Moto GP, there's not a bike/rider combined weight...so I suppose it's all down to the ability of the tire contact patch to harness the power, and/or the quality and durability of the tires. Am I close? If anyone has an explanation for why it doesn't matter--or why the other riders don't raise a fuss about it--I would very much appreciate having it explained to me.

Having said all that about Jorge being too smart to switch to another bike, I think he'll stay at Yamaha, and that Toseland will leave Tech 3. While I like Toseland, I think he's had his chance, and I really want to see Ben Spies racing in Moto GP. I don't have any real doubts that he'll win his championship this year, and I believed that before Haga's accident. It's just so incredible that Suzuki lost Ben and Yamaha picked him up just as it became one of the two best WSBK packages, and he's now poised to enter Moto GP on arguably the best bike in the series. THAT is gonna be fun to watch! (I'm REALLY enjoying WSBK this year!)

Anyway, Jorge would be FURTHER BEHIND by an additional 9-18 points--not ahead--if not for his crash...and also if not for the criminally stupid flag-to-flag conditions.

And as usual, if I'm forgetting something and/or being blindly opinionated, please point it out to me. I want to be fair at all times, and I always enjoy a bit of discourse.

Total votes: 118

What year are the rumors saying the 990's are coming back?

I've become a big fan of Lorenzo, but if 900+ cc bikes are the future, I say Yamaha should let him walk if he wants, and bring in Ben Spies. Yeah I know, "rookie rule," but that might not survive the off-season either.

Total votes: 134

I agree that Dani has proven he's fast, but I also think at the level MotoGp riders are at, they can't complain about bikes not being what they want in the research and testing phase when they don't do much about it. Dani has nobody to blame but himself. If he would not continue to wreck then just maybe he would be able to do the MAJORITY OF TESTING and BIKE DEVELOPMENT...as opposed to leaving it for everyone else...like Nicky and Andrea. At some point in time you have to look at yourself who controls the throttle and braking and quit blaming Honda. Like it's been said before the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Puig and Dani would find something or someone to blame anyway if they did get to the other side.I think it's been shown this year that Lorenzo brings more to the table and has not made any excuses. He's just went out more focused and consistent and performed.

Total votes: 159

I found it pretty interesting CrimsonTide brought up the weight issue in MotoGp. Although, I have no answers to the issue either. I will admit that I just don't get it. It makes no sense to have a weight limit for the bike but yet do nothing to get a combined weight of rider and bike. I'm not a Dani hater but I get sooo sick of hearing how he makes great starts and is lightening quick. Has anyone been around this guy? He's tiny as all get out. I think he comes up to my hip. It's no wonder he get's to the front on all starts. But I would say that after seeing him shoot to the front time and time again. I would say it's more than tires and contact patch. I feel that most don't make a big deal about it due to the fact they might be taken as something whiney or trivial. Also, since Dorna is pretty much Spain dominated. I doubt they would bring anything into play that would affect Dani.
On another note. I can't wait for Ben Spies to get to MotoGp also. As long as it's a full factory ride, which I think he's proven he should get and deserves. My first take on it was he was being a little greedy with shying away from offers not high enough in his price range. Obviously I've changed. I think he's shown just what his worth is by dominating poles in SBK. It got old watching him dominate races in the AMA by 20 seconds every race but I sure love watching him now. Can't imagine how eager and focused he will be when he gets to MotoGp. ..but I can't wait.

Total votes: 119

Maybe the nobody's complained about it so far, because the small stature and the lightweight of Dani has not only advantages, even if that's pretty much all that's talked about all the time.
It might give him the upper hand during starts, but at the same time you have to consider the disadvantages he has. He has to work much more on the bike to even get it to turn or to get the front wheel on the ground, because his weight is simply not enough for just a slight shift of direction. When you compare pictures of him leaning into a curve with the ones of other riders, you'll see that he's hanging infinitely more of the bike to throw all the little weight he has around the corner and get the bike to turn better. In general the height and weight issue makes handling a MotoGP bike a whole lot more difficult and he has to rely on a more technical riding style as he can't compensate with just a slight shift of weight or with power. It might have been the perfect stature for 125cc and 250cc, but it certainly isn't for MotoGP. He can't even get his feet on the ground when sitting on the bike.

Personally I do think sometimes that this might be the reason for him to never engage in any real fights on track. The bike must be a beast for him, it almost goes up to his chest when he stands next to it and it probably takes all he has to control it just to go safely around the track.
Yes, he has advantages with folding himself behind the windshield and his weight might give him an advantage during the starts, but considering the disadvantages he has, it pretty much evens out. Taller and heavier riders like Rossi might have trouble getting their lanky frame behind the windshield and possibly lose a few .001s on the straight, but the higher weight and usually more muscle makes it a little easier to handle the bike safely.

@DutchDiesel: It's a little harsh to put all the blame on Dani just because he crashed during preseason. He doesn't crash very often, he just happens to injure himself pretty much every time. You almost make it sound like he does that on purpose, but I'm sure that's just overinterpretation on my side.

Total votes: 127

I remember when Dani ran in Laguna in first time, Nicky said, in this track you can see difference between kid and man (obvious he was talking about Dani), and what happened? Dani got second position. And in the last weekend we got the victory in Laguna Seca, i guess that the Dani Haters must be feel really bad.
Allways looking for excuses for your riders, it is clear that the solution for you is create a category/class for every rider, so everybody will be champion. Sample Nicky needs 500 cc and 2 strokes (sure??), Dani minibikes, West wet races, Spies 990 etc.... And now the reality is 800 cc and you can not hate to Pedrosa because Honda push to change from 990 to 800.
Recently Rayne said about Dani, you can teach a rider to improve fighting body to body, but not to be fast, please review the Honda bikes results in 800 and the talk about Dani

Thanks

Pablo

Total votes: 131

It's funny how attitudes change to Pedrosa. A lot of Americans thought they would never forgive him for taking out Hayden at Estoril in '06, but over the past year or so, they have mellowed. Especially since his impressive riding with serious injury this year, those who formerly hated him have started to respect him, if somewhat begrudgingly.

The 800s certainly suited Pedrosa, but they have also suited Lorenzo and Stoner. But they've made racing too expensive and not exciting enough, and I think they will soon be gone. It will be interesting to see how Pedrosa (and Elias) cope with the bigger, more powerful machines. Pedrosa did pretty well on the 990, so I think he'll manage just fine.

Total votes: 133

OK. Do tell, David. WHAT causes you to say that they'll probably bring back the 990cc machines?

Are my YEARS of ardent PRAYERS coming to fruition?

PLEASE tell me what brings you to say such a thing! I can scarcely think of something I WOULDN'T give to bring them back!

PLEEEEEEEEEASE let me in on the secret.

Please tell me it's no joke.

Please tell me it's TRUE!

Total votes: 147

So far, it's just paddock scuttlebutt and talk. There is, however, a growing realization that the 800s are not a viable class in their current form, and that a larger capacity is needed to make racing more viable and more affordable. The very earliest there could be a rule change would be 2012, so don't hold your breath, and the fear is that they'll make an even bigger mess of the rules than they did with the 800s. But the impression I get is that the 800s are history. Eventually. 

Total votes: 114

Thanks, guys! It's good to share a little Q&A, as I certainly DON'T know it all. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who can't figure this out.

In response to the three posts after mine--in chronological order:

POST ONE from DutchDiesel: Even though your first post on Dani's testing wasn't specifically addressed to my questions, I see a sizable amount of merit in your comments. If anyone in Moto GP traditionally has a budget ceiling about the height of...say...Jupiter, it's Honda. They built the most technically-advanced engine in the history of motorcycle racing (the V5), and they made what was then the best bike to put it in(RC211V), and they had constant development from their top-notch riders. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the M1 was one of the worst pieces of crap in the paddock. Yamaha got a rider who--according to the other riders, mechanics, and crew chiefs(as seen in "Faster")--was able to work more effectively with the engineers, able to give better feedback, and able to give better direction, which resulted in a transformation from P.O.S.--at least it was a P.O.S. according to Biaggi--to championship-winning bike. All that is to say that I DO believe that better feedback will result in better bikes. I think I tend to agree that Nicky and Rossi did a HUGE amount of development on the RC211V, and when discussing the to-date development on the 212, Nicky put in more development than any other Honda rider, as well. His dedication and number of laps put into development are unparalleled.

Furthermore, I believe that Casey should get credit for helping develop the Desmosedici in the current iteration...at least...in relation to how Ducati develop a bike... By that, I mean that they are always innovative...of late, they are innovative in THE ABSOLUTE EXTREME, doing things that are forward-thinking and unprecedented, but do these innovations result--in PRACTICE--in a better bike? Evidence suggests an answer of "not really" in all circumstances. Again, if Rossi's autobiography is credible, Ducati's Achilles heel was their overindulgence in technology, even to the detriment of the bikes...and that would go a long way toward explaining the "over-digitalization" and the excessively-engineered nature of their bikes. On paper, their ideas seem to be great, like the directional torsional properties of carbon fiber for a frame, but in practice...maybe not so much. I remember a quote from Jeremy Burgess, where he was watching a Ducati on one of the live-feed monitors at a track (I think it was Catalunya) during an official test, and the bike was all over the place, bucking and spinning and wheelying...and Jeremy said:

"...and all their telemetry computers and sensors say that everything is working perfectly right now!"

Ducati seems to have been obsessed with replacement of any and all analog elements of the bike, while Honda seem to have more of a "WE ARE HONDA" mentality, even in the face of being dominated by other teams.

Honda seems resistant to change, demonstrated, for instance, by their clinging to steel valve springs--who knows why...possibly to not give a tacit agreement that the others have a better idea or better engineering?--instead of a jump to a pneumatic or--better yet--a desmo system. This is certainly a wild guess on my part, but they DID also refuse to chill their fuel, dismissing it as frivolous. It's impossible to tell if it's arrogance or just resistance to change, but some of their decisions are SO ill-advised. The steel springs--which get VERY inefficient over 17,000 RPM--and the fuel-chilling strategy again come to mind.

Again, Ducati is the OPPOSITE, as they have THE MOST EFFICIENT valve-control system, along with an unprecedented chassis/swing arm setup, and cutting-edge electronics--all of which they seemingly rely on more heavily than the other teams, but those innovations don't appear to be paying off this year...YET.

It seems that Yamaha has a balance of electronics and rider input, and I dare say that Yamaha has THE best development riders in the business, so the results speak for themselves. I believe Dovizioso is very committed, and I believe Dani could do better with more practice, although his unfortunate injuries and the possibly change-resistant management at Honda could very well be working against his best efforts.

Regarding POST 2 from DutchDiesel: I COMPLETELY agree with you on all counts. I've always been similarly amused/annoyed at the glowing comments on Dani's "AMAZING" starts. Dani is 48kg/106lbs, or roughly 18 pounds less than Casey or roughly 31 less than Rossi. That is HUGE. There's something I haven't thought of in a long time, but I just remembered Mark Bracks the other day, and I remembered something he said about Dani. It was Dani's first year, first race, Jerez. At the end of the race, Bracks said that Dani was too light, and that he should have to carry ballast or have some type of weight penalty because of how little he weighed. I was gobsmacked. I was just like, "Did he REALLY just say that?", because it was what I was thinking, but I'm not a broadcaster, nor do I have to pretend that I'm impartial. It was just such a candid moment...and then...Bracks gets sacked. I know it wasn't soon thereafter, but Bracks DID say it about the great hope of Spain, and he DID say it about a rider in a racing series based in SPAIN, and I was impressed and shocked. So, it seems that we aren't the only ones who just don't get it when it comes to the huge disparity on the weight issue.

stv21: I also agree with the distinct possibility of the scenarios you suggest. It could well be that Dani has a bit more of a challenge to dogfight. I can picture that being a bit of a challenge for him. His weight and stature VERY likely does play into his strength of starting like a bullet and running away at the front. Again, I can't recall a win of a different style, as his Catalunya victory last year was a photo copy of Laguna. In both riding style AND personality, Dani doesn't seem like much of a confrontational type. Hee hee... In a mildly ironic twist, he is absolutely NO match for other notable--and MUCH heavier--riders when it comes to late braking and stuffing it up the inside as a result of said maneuver... I certainly don't think he means to under-develop a bike, but I think there are others who work harder, and I think that maybe the the corporate culture at Honda is working against him. Whatever the reason, he is lighter by a significant margin, he races for the team with the biggest budget(and arguably one of the most influential voices on the rules changes for the 800cc era, implying greater knowledge for how to build a competitive bike), and he gets absolutely everything he wants from Honda and his despotic manager, and yet...even before the injuries--and for other riders of the Honda--the results are just not there...

Maybe the weight issue just isn't such a big deal, but again, it would be the stuff of million-dollar fines in F1, and that is for cars that weigh 3 or 4 times what these bikes weigh. Perhaps it's just one of those mysteries of the universe...

Anyone else know something we don't know about the weight issue?

Total votes: 123

I think with Telephonica money, Yamaha would pony up for a 5th bike just for Lorenzo. Then Edwards goes to Fiat for a final season. Spies comes in to Tec 3.

Total votes: 120

P.S. I think that the whole Repsol-to-Yamaha scenario made ALL the sense in the world, since I believe Lorenzo is going to be the next Spanish world champion, and I still give him more credit than to actually go to another team. I think Bautista very well may win a championship at some point in the future, but I just don't think Pedrosa is going to. Before Rossi retires, it just ain't gonna happen, and after, there's Lorenzo to deal with, and Jorge is just a better all-around rider, IMHO.

The logic and reasoning of Repsol's wishes for a Spanish champion all make perfect sense, and it would be the most natural and logical step forward for them to switch to Yamaha. I hope their desire to have a world champion is stronger than their desire to doggedly cling to a false hope that it's gonna happen with Honda, because I just don't see a way that it can, at least at this stage in the 800cc game...

Again, just my semi-informed opinion...

Total votes: 127

... Repsol's obsession with a Spanish champion. OK, marketing value in Spain, not sure it really sells more product though, or raises their profile, but whatever... we'll stick to conventional wisdom.

So since 1995, they've had exactly 1 Spanish champ. Did that somehow make the other 13 years, 4 champions and 7 championships not really worth it?

Stick with Honda and Pedrosa you dopes.

Total votes: 137

Again, I love a bit of discourse.

You make an excellent point about the other championships and their value to Repsol. Their partnership does indeed have a legendary status in Moto GP. I mean, if I say one, I automatically say the other: "Repsol...HONDA". My wife even says "Honda" if I ask her to complete the statement, "Repsol WHAT?" Funnily enough, she then grins like the Cheshire Cat and then dreamily says, "Nicky...is soooo...adorable...", which I find amusing...but hey, it gets her watching the races with me, so what do I care.(ha!) It's more than my buddies' wives do as far as getting into Moto GP...

As far as wanting a Spanish champion, the national pride of Spain is a pretty huge thing, and considering the amount of money they spend, they want one of their own to be the champion. If Honda got rather blase (where's the accent mark key?) about winning races and championships back in the 990 days because "that's just what they do, so it is expected", then I can picture championships just not being enough for them. They've been there and done that, so they want to have a "personalized" Spanish champion for their money.

I totally understand their desire for a Spanish world champion, but I absolutely agree with you about questioning the value or validity of other champions and championships. I guess when they pay that much money, they feel that they can ask for it all, AND the proverbial "bag of chips/crisps".

Total votes: 130