The rivalry between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa is both bitter and well-known. The rivalry, which started in 2005 after incidents in the German and Japanese Grand Prix, first came to the attention of the English-speaking world when it took the King of Spain to force the two Spaniards to shake hands, after both men ended up on the podium at Jerez in 2008. Since then, the two men have kept a careful if respectful distance between each other.
That may not be possible next year, though. The Spanish press is full of the prospect that Jorge Lorenzo could make the switch to Honda next year, and though the rumors so far suggest a return of Telefonica to sponsor a one-bike factory-supported team for Lorenzo, the Mallorcan could also join Repsol Honda, as a team mate to his rival Dani Pedrosa.
The Spanish radio channel Onda Cero spoke to Dani Pedrosa about this prospect, and the diminutive Spaniard was remarkably sanguine about the whole affair. Asked about the necessity of placing a wall down the middle of the garage if Lorenzo were to join Pedrosa as a Repsol Honda team mate, Pedrosa said it wouldn't be necessary. "The wall at Yamaha was put there because Rossi wanted it," he told Onda Cero. "I don't think Lorenzo thought it was a problem. But anyway, the policies at Honda are different. I don't know whether they work more as a team at Yamaha, but that's not the impression that Honda want to give."
However, there is no certainty that Pedrosa will even be at Repsol Honda next year. Though the Spaniard was keen to emphasize the excellent relations he has with HRC, he refused to be pushed on the subject of signing a new contract with the Repsol team. "We didn't renew the last contract until October. This year, we've started to talk very early, and it's a subject which is very distracting for riders."
Most important for Pedrosa is competitive machinery. "In the end, you decide to go where you have the best options. If that means that I won't stay at Honda and I have to go to another theam, I'll do what any rider does, I will go where I think I have the best chance of success." But any switch would have to be underwritten with guarantees of competitiveness. "It's difficult enough to win because you are up against great riders, and if you don't face them with equal equipment, that makes it very hard. Otherwise you can face them on the same level, where it comes down to your job as a rider," Pedrosa added.
This is still all speculation, however. Interviewed recently by Gunther Wiesinger and Paolo Scalera, Yamaha's Lin Jarvis emphasized he was keen to keep Lorenzo at Yamaha, but understood the interest in him. "Any other motorcycle manufacturer should be contacting Jorge," Jarvis said. "If they are not, they are not doing their job." Meanwhile, Yamaha are still talking about extending the deal with Lorenzo: "Discussions are continuing in a positive way," he said, "I'm confident we can offer him the support he needs to achieve his maximum potential. As for the financial side, he is a top sportsman, and he has to look after his career."
Though the Spanish press would dearly love to see Pedrosa and Lorenzo in the same team - the drama which would surely ensue would help sell vast numbers of magazines and newspapers and fill endless hours of tv and radio - the chances of it happening are still fairly slim