The next piece in the MotoGP silly season jigsaw puzzle could be about to fall into place. Reports in both the Spanish press (at Motocuatro and Marca) and at the Italian site GPOne.com are suggesting that Jorge Martinez, boss of the Aspar team, has called an emergency meeting with Alvaro Bautista's management to discuss the former 125cc champion's MotoGP plans. The meeting is due to take place on Thursday, in the paddock at Brno, and it is believed that Martinez will use the occasion to try a last-ditch attempt to persuade Bautista to join the Aspar MotoGP project and ride the Ducati left vacant by Sete Gibernau for next season.
For Aspar has a problem. Alvaro Bautista has already signed a pre-contract with Suzuki last summer, according to the reports, and is not inclined to pay the penalty which breaking that commitment would involve. As a result, Bautista is increasingly leaning towards finalizing a deal with Suzuki to ride for the Rizla squad for 2010. His choice is also influenced by the fact that he will be able to go straight to a factory team, Suzuki having received a dispensation from the rookie rule which forces new entrants to sign with satellite squads.
Up against this, Aspar can offer a contract directly with Ducati, but riding in the Aspar team. Bautista would be assured of strong support from Ducati Corse, and the option of moving up to the factory squad should his results be good enough. Of course, with so many riders struggling to tame the Desmosedici, Bautista may not want to risk that option, and the Spaniard has in the past flat out refused to ride the Ducati.
Whatever Bautista decides, Aspar will be announcing their MotoGP rider this weekend. Jorge Martinez told Marca that he will definitely be officially confirming their rider either on Thursday or Friday. But first, Martinez must await Bautista's decision.