Uncertainty continues as to who will fill the final seat on the 2010 MotoGP grid. In the early hours of today, several sections of the Spanish media were reporting that the Scot Honda ride had gone to Alex de Angelis, leaving Toni Elias riding for the Pons team in Moto2. But news is emerging that the deal is not yet completely finalized.
According to the Catalonian sports daily Sport.es, the Scot Honda team have asked Toni Elias to delay his decision for 48 hours. The Spaniard has reportedly penciled a deal with the Pons team to ride their Kalex Moto2 bike, his hand forced once it looked like the government of San Marino would step in to support Alex de Angelis.
But in recent days, the negotiations seem to have stalled. Speaking on San Marino television, Fabio Berardi, the San Marino Secretary of Sport and Tourism made the point that riders need sponsorship to obtain a ride these days, and that the government of the city state would very much like to see De Angelis, who was born in the Republic, on a bike in San Marino colors. At the same time, Berardi emphasized that in the current economic climate, it would be very difficult to justify hugely increasing their financial commitments to motorcycle racing, and that help would be needed to raise the extra sponsorship needed.
The pendulum, which has been swinging in De Angelis' direction over the past couple of weeks, may be slowing a little. Probability would still seem to favor the Scot Honda MotoGP bike going to the man from San Marino over Toni Elias, but a deal is still not quite done. De Angelis has sponsorship in his favor, as well as the fact that he races under the flag of San Marino. Although the tiny republic is part of Italy in everything but name, De Angelis would add another nationality to the grid, leaving the count at 5 Spaniards and 5 Italians. That academic distinction may not hold much water in the real world, but it may be just large enough on paper to gain the favor of Dorna and the FIM over Toni Elias, whose nationality cannot be changed from Spanish through any form of machinations. Despite being declared "a nation" in the most recent draft of the regional constitution, Catalonia is still a part of Spain, and its citizens (such as Toni Elias) race under the Spanish flag.
Gabor Talmacsi's bid to retain the bike he took over from Yuki Takahashi has apparently been vetoed by HRC, the Hungarian failing to be competitive enough to deserve the ride.