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.