The arrival of the Moto2 class to replace the much lamented 250cc bikes has generated a great deal of excitement, both inside and outside the MotoGP paddock, and as the official announcement of the full list of entrants in Moto2 at the Estoril Grand Prix draws nears, that excitement is reaching a crescendo. Many projects have already been announced (which we will cover in a separate story later), and many names have been linked to the series, but little concrete has been announced.
Earlier this week we had what looked like the first announcement: Herve Poncharal of the Tech 3 Yamaha team has made no secret of his admiration for his countryman Jules Cluzel, his latest expression of interest coming during an interview with the motorsports website Crash.net. But even as smart an operator as Poncharal can overstep the mark sometimes, it seems. For after Poncharal told the official MotoGP.com website that he had already signed Jules Cluzel, the young French rider has denied that there is anything official to announce.
In an interview with the French website Moto Caradisiac, Cluzel, who has impressed a lot of people with some outstanding results on a very privateer 250cc Aprilia LE, said that he hadn't signed anything yet. "I'm very honored by the interest that Herve and Tech 3 have shown in me. The comparison he made with Olivier Jacque was very flattering," the young French rider said. But Cluzel was keen to point out that he wasn't in a position to sign a new deal yet. "My contract with my current team Matteoni stipulates that they have an option on me for 2010," Cluzel told Moto Caradisiac, pointing out that he was still in discussions with the Matteoni team for 2010, based on the excellent results he has had with the team. As a result of their investment in him, he felt obliged to the team. "Morally, I am a person who likes to do thing the correct way, the legal way," he said. "So we shall try to clarify the situation together, then we shall see what happens. I have a lot of respect for Matteoni," Cluzel added.
Given the superb results the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team has been scoring in MotoGP - made all the more remarkable seeing that just a few years ago, the team was running at the back of the grid on Dunlop tires - the Tech 3 team are sure to be one of the very best Moto2 teams from the outset of the series. As a consequence, Cluzel would be foolish to turn the team down outright. However, the fact that a young man would respect both his legal and moral obligations to his existing team becomes him, and deserves our appreciation. Even in the dog-eat-dog world of motorcycle racing, there is still room for a man of honor.