Pedrosa: Yamaha Was First Choice

The Lorenzo Saga - several weeks of indecision about which factory Jorge Lorenzo would sign for - has deeper implications than we ever suspected. Obviously, if Lorenzo had gone to Honda or Ducati, that would have catalyzed a serious reshuffle among the top riders, but only now are the motivations of the various players coming to light.

Dani Pedrosa - another key player - was brutally honest in the assessment of his choice to sign a new deal with Honda this weekend. It was, he told Italian TV, his second choice, after the option of going to Yamaha fell through. "Put simply, I signed [with Honda] because there was no room at Yamaha, which would have been a good move." With a move to Yamaha no longer possible, Pedrosa was forced to give Honda one more chance. "I have put my trust in Honda for one more year to see if they can build a better bike. Otherwise, if there is no improvement after the year, maybe it will be finished."

Pedrosa's statement to Italian television explains all too clearly why the Spaniard signed just a one-year deal with HRC. Pedrosa has been openly critical of Honda, expressing his impatience at the factory's inability to produce a competitive bike, a fact that was acknowledged by HRC boss Tetsuo Suzuki earlier this year. There has obviously been a marked improvement in the past few months, but it has not been enough to challenge Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo on equal terms.

With Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo and Casey Stoner all set to be negotiating new contracts in 2010, and all of the riders expressing some level of dissatisfaction with their current employers, next season could see a huge rider reshuffle during mid-season, with the three major manufacturers spending huge sums of money to attract the available talent. All the cost cutting the factories have engaged in this year is likely to be undone in 2011. They will have to hope that the economic recovery is in full swing by then.

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This is why I kept saying Spies needed to be MotoGP in 2010. Come 2011 there will be a lot of reshuffling and new 2 yr contracts signed. He'll miss a great opportunity to take advantage of the mass of open factory slots in 2011. Instead, he's going to be stuck at Tech3 in 2011 and probably 2012 when he could have had a real chance at a factory ride in 2011.

Spies would have to ride a year on a satellite team anyway though due to the rookie rule. I think the possibility is still open for him moving up next year but if not I'm sure some agreement between Spies and his manager and Yamaha have already been made securing him a seat. Yamaha has seen how he has progressed this year alone and will be keen not to do like Suzuki did and all but force him elsewhere.

What this really makes me wonder is that although I'm anything but a Pedrosa fan how fast could he go if he had time on the M1? I'm not gonna say he could outride Rossi or Lorenzo on that bike but it does make me wonder. Also it seems like Honda is in dire need of something to push them closer to the M1 in terms of consistent performance. I kinda doubt that change will be a switch from Showa to Ohlins alone.

Here's what Honda needs to do - get Pedrosa or Dovi to park their motorhome close to the Yamaha pit, then take dozens of photos of the unclothed Yamaha through the mirrored windows of the motorhome. Then copy all the innovations of the M1 over to the RC.

Well it worked in 1988 or so when Gardner parked his motorhome outside the Suzuki pit...

It's certainly intriguing to see all the one-year deals...

Well, that makes it unanimous - all the top riders and especially those who have had the opportunity to study the fastest Duc close up and personal don't want to ride it - with the exception of Stoner. Perhaps if Stoner gets a few more wins and Hayden starts getting reliable close-to-podium finishes that situation might change by mid next-season. Pedrosa has never spoken against riding for tobacco sponsorship as Rossi has, so maybe he might look at a genuinely competitive Duc more favourably next year, but right now Ducati is in the position of not having any new lightbulbs to screw in to replace Stoner ...