With the veritable category 5 hurricane of media attention that has surrounded Jorge Lorenzo's deal with Ducati - a deal that has been both confirmed and denied - most other MotoGP news has gone unnoticed. And yet the whirlwind of news has managed to stir up a few fascinating details from around the rest of the paddock, as seats are being held open and details hammered out for potential deals which could come into play if Lorenzo moves and his seat at Fiat Yamaha becomes available.
One candidate for that vacancy would be Dani Pedrosa. Despite HRC boss Tetsuo Suzuki announcing that Honda had reached a "basic agreement" with both Pedrosa and Dovizioso, with just a few details left to be thrashed out, both Dani Pedrosa and his manager and mentor Alberto Puig denied that any deal had been agreed upon, though Pedrosa described the talks as being "positive". Until a deal with Honda is finalized, Pedrosa is still at liberty to explore other options, one of which is Yamaha. Puig has commented several times that if Pedrosa cannot reach an agreement with Honda, Yamaha would be his best option.
But there is one detail which is blocking any deal which Pedrosa may be considering. Both Honda and Yamaha have said that they would welcome Pedrosa with open arms, but they will not accept the presence of Alberto Puig in the garage, according to the Spanish website Motoworld. The contract which HRC presented to Pedrosa reportedly contained the condition that Puig would no longer be welcome in the Repsol Honda garage, a condition which caused Pedrosa to refuse to sign it. Similarly, when Jorge Lorenzo flirtation with Honda caused Pedrosa to put out feelers to Yamaha, one of the conditions demanded by Yamaha was that Puig would not be involved.
Pedrosa has flatly refused to accept either of these offers if that meant abandoning Puig. The former Grand Prix winner has been working with Pedrosa since the Repsol Honda rider was just 13 years of age, when Puig selected him for the Movistar Cup, the precursor of what was to metamorphose into the Red Bull Rookies program, despite being below the minimum age limit. The pair have worked together closely ever since, Pedrosa reportedly relying heavily on Puig's advice on bike setup and development.
The question of Puig could leave Dani Pedrosa in a real quandary. With both Yamaha and Honda unwilling to sign Pedrosa if Puig comes as part of the deal, and Pedrosa rejecting any deal which expressly excluded Puig, the Spanish prodigy is leaving himself with ever fewer options. If neither Yamaha nor Honda will sign Pedrosa, the Spaniard would be force to look elsewhere. The seats at Suzuki are both just about tied up, and the Suzuki is unlikely to be a bike that even Pedrosa could turn into a championship winner. If Lorenzo lands at Ducati, the chances of the Bologna factory signing Pedrosa - with or without Puig - are virtually nonexistent.
Somebody is going to have to blink first. Will it be Pedrosa, because he wants a competitive ride? Or will it be Honda or Yamaha, because they need a rider capable of winning a championship?