One name keeps cropping up amidst all the speculation about still open seats in the various race series. Alex de Angelis has been linked with a range of options since the late summer, all of them revolving around sponsorship by the tourism agency of San Marino, the tiny Italian republic from whence De Angelis hails. It started with the Scot Honda MotoGP program, and when that was abandoned, went on to a second Aprilia World Superbike team, as well as several options in Moto2, including the Hayate Moto2 team.
It is not that easy, though, it seems. According to San Marino's state broadcasting corporation, De Angelis' options are quickly drying up. The Scot Honda MotoGP ride fell through when San Marino could not provide the necessary (and necessarily sizable) sponsorship to fund the program. The protracted negotiations with Honda also ended another intriguing possibility, that the Scot team had been offered a Ducati GP10, expanding the Bolognese factory's presence on the grid from 5 to 6 bikes according to Italian broadcaster Sportmediaset. Unfortunately for De Angelis, by the time the negotiations with Honda had failed, Ducati had withdrawn their offer.
The rumored second Aprilia World Superbike squad is certain to make an appearance, but the team - rising from the ashes of the Guandalini and Borciani WSBK squads - will most likely field only Jakub Smrz, lacking the funds to run De Angelis alongside him. Which leaves De Angelis with Moto2 as his only real option, but even that is difficult. De Angelis is in negotiations with Hayate, but the sticking point is, as always, money. Hayate needs to bring sponsorship, and De Angelis may not be able to bring enough to satisfy the former MotoGP team's requirements.
That, according to San Marino RTV, could mean that De Angelis is forced to sit out a year. The Italian will have to hope that his return to racing, should he be forced to skip 2010, is as successful as Max Biaggi's, who also found himself in the same situation in 2006.