Silly season for the MotoGP class is in a strange, almost schizophrenic state. The paddock is swirling with rumors - though admittedly, this is its usual state - yet few moves or announcements are forthcoming. Normally, we would be in the middle of rider announcements, but one man has been holding up all progress in the annual rider merry-go-round.
Jorge Lorenzo's contract with Yamaha is up at the end of the 2009 season, and the Spanish sensation is dragging his feet over a contract renewal and trawling the market to test his value. He has an offer on the table from Yamaha, but has been openly flirting with Honda, with talk of the Repsol Honda team being divided into two separate teams, along similar lines to the Fiat Yamaha garage now.
First, though, Lorenzo must decide whether his future lies with Yamaha or not. The Spaniard had a meeting with senior Yamaha executives Lin Jarvis and Masao Furusawa at Donington last night, where Yamaha and Lorenzo, together with his manager Marcos Hirsch, discussed the situation at great length.
According to the Spanish sports daily AS.com, the main outcome of the meeting was that both sides should go away and consider the situation carefully. However, the good news for Yamaha is that Lorenzo seems to be more inclined to stay with the Japanese factory than to go elsewhere. "The best option for Lorenzo continues to be that he renews his contract with Yamaha, and for the manufacturer, to continue with Jorge in their garage."
The news will come as a frustration and a relief to the rest of the paddock. The relief will be felt most keenly for Dani Pedrosa and his manager Alberto Puig. AS says it has been told that if Lorenzo joins Repsol Honda, Pedrosa will leave, and with the Honda just starting to come good, that would be a less attractive option. The frustration will be felt most keenly among the rest of the riders; Lorenzo is the key to the rest of the rider reshuffle, once Lorenzo decides where his future lies, then the rest of the pieces can be rearranged accordingly.
And so Yamaha, the riders, MotoGP fans and especially the Spanish press are left to wait, for several more weeks. This story, as they say, is set to run and run.