The Pasini / Team Toth Saga Part 2 - Bikes May Not Ride, Pasini To Replace Canepa?

The Team Toth saga seems set to run and run. Three weeks ago, disaster was averted at Assen by an urgent transfer of funds from Mattia Pasini's Team Toth to Aprilia, who then released the ECUs required to operate the factory-spec RSA 250s Pasini is racing halfway through the first session of free practice. Now, that scenario looks set to be repeated, as according to both and the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, Aprilia are once again holding on to the ECUs to be used by Team Toth, waiting for another payment to be made before allowing Pasini and team mate Imre Toth Jr to race.

The signs of financial trouble have been on the wall for a while: At Mugello, Pasini sported a garish pink livery, promoting a special Ladies' Night offer at a local Rimini night club. Entertaining it might be, but single-race deals with night clubs are unlikely to cover the million euro lease price for a factory-spec Aprilia 250. If the situation continues as is, Team Toth may be forced to withdraw entirely.

Pasini, it appears, may already have that situation covered. The Italian is said to be in talks with the Pramac Ducati team as a replacement for Niccolo Canepa, who has had a deeply disappointing season since entering the MotoGP class. The former FIM Superstock 1000 champion has struggled to get to grips with the Ducati Desmosedici, with only the arrival of Gabor Talmacsi granting Canepa a temporary reprieve from the ignominy of running around in last. Canepa is said to have been given until the Donington round of MotoGP to start improving his results, or face replacement.

If Pasini does make the jump up to MotoGP, it will be another curious move in a remarkable season. Pasini would be the second 250 rider to make the switch to MotoGP in mid-season, following in Gabor Talmacsi's footsteps. The situation is a stark reminder of the glut of talent chasing a few scarce rides, with Sete Gibernau's team's withdrawal leaving the MotoGP grid at just 17, while teams in the 250 class and World Superbikes continue to quietly fold and disappear. Right now, it would appear, a rider's contract is not worth the paper it is written on.

The new Moto2 class may mark a turnaround in that situation, with a full grid of at least 36 riders expected and a genuine sense of excitement surrounding the new series. But until the final entries and rider line ups are announced at the Portugal Grand Prix in early October, that will remain conjecture and speculation.

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Wow 36 entries already for Moto2. Maybe this is where all the Japanese riders are going to be heading? There seems to be fewer and fewer in all other World Championships sadly.
Whilst I lament deeply the loss of the 250s, and two strokes in general (bring back the 500s!), I think in a way Moto2 may help the parlous state of GP racing at the moment. Sure, it will be 'low' cost to an extent and be running more 'restricted' bikes but if there are enough talented racers to ensure more even competition it may well inject more sponsorship interest into the other two MotoGP classes. Whilst it will be a shame for factory competition to be taken completely out of one GP class, if its for the greater good then surely its got be be good for the sport.
My next bet is that the 125cc strokers will be replaced with an electric or alt fuels category. Maybe a KTM provided spec electric engine - like their prototype enduro? Now that could be interesting for road racing.

Pasini will be in good company with other riders who struggled with the 800cc Desmosedici

Capirossi - failed to make the 800 work the way he did the 990
Barros - one podium in 2007 (w00t!)
Hoffman - what's to say?
Melandri - horrible season in 2008
Guintoli - notta
Elias - 2 podiums in 2008 but then back to pain
Hayden - a 5th in Laguna but otherwise struggling
Kallio - almost had a 6th - the fact that we were excited about his "run" of 8ths should tell you something
Canepa - backmarker extraordinaire

and of course
Stoner - pwns

where will Pasini figure do you figure?

that being said, a ride is still better than no ride, and a ride in MotoGP is a dream.

hopefully it won't be a melandri/canepa style nightmare

Canepa is a bit heartbreaking to watch. I saw him almost get lapped at Laguna (Talmasci had crashed out) and it just made me sad that the likely culprit was a bike he just couldn't dial in, like the string of riders before him. You'd see the camera helicopter come over the corkscrew as Canepa was coming down and that could only mean the frontrunners were close behind.
I am no big Stoner fan but I will give him props for mastering that bike where others failed miserably.