Interwetten Honda MotoGP Withdrawal Confirmed

The withdrawal of the Interwetten Honda team from MotoGP has been an open secret for some time now, after title sponsor Interwetten decided against renewing funding for the MotoGP team again next year. Team boss Daniel Epp had been holding off on an official announcement until all of his options to replace Interwetten had been exhausted. That happened a few weeks ago, and now, the Interwetten team has officially announced the demise of the team.

The disbanding of the Interwetten team leaves former 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama without a ride, but that situation is unlikely to last for long. Aoyama is currently being linked to the second Gresini Honda ride, alongside Marco Simoncelli, but team boss Fausto Gresini has been reluctant to sign the Japanese rider, citing a lack of money to run a second team. Gresini has been hoping that Dorna and HRC will stump up the cash to pay for Aoyama's seat in the Gresini garage, as both the TV rights holders and Honda are keen to have a Japanese rider in the series. Gresini argues that an Italian rider would be much easier to find sponsorship for.

Should the Gresini deal fall through for Aoyama, the Japanese rider still has options in Moto2, where his name has been linked with a couple of teams. As both Julian Simon and Toni Elias have proved in the past, dropping back a class, from 250s to 125s in the case of Simon, and MotoGP to Moto2 for Elias, can prove to be a strategically sensible move.

Below is the text of the press release announcing the Interwetten team's final round in MotoGP:


INTERWETTEN HONDA MotoGP TEAM: Final Grand Prix in Valencia

In just one week time the last round of the MotoGP world championship 2010 will take place on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia / Spain. Hiroshi Aoyama and the Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team hope for a better result than in Estoril last weekend, where Aoyama showed a strong performance in the middle of the race, but because of a small mistake while he was in 10th position, he could not finish higher than 12th.

The race in Valencia will not only be the last race of the season 2010, the curtain will also fall for the Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team as Valencia will be their last race. Aoyama will announce the team he will be signing the contract with for 2011 in Valencia and Daniel M. Epp, the team manager and owner, will concentrate on his work with Tom Lüthi in the Moto2 class in 2011 and on the preparation of new projects and a return to the MotoGP class in 2012.

The Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team wants to thank all their sponsors, fans and friends who believed in the project for their support and cooperation.

Hiroshi Aoyama about the circuit in Valencia:

"Sometimes I have a good feeling with Valencia and sometimes I don't. I hope that this time the feeling will be good. Last year I achieved the 250cc world title there and I have some nice memories on that, but you cannot compare this. I hope that the coming race will be better than the one in Estoril, where I could have finished in the Top 10, but made a mistake and had to be satisfied with 12th at the end. It is a pity that the team cannot continue. I had a really good time with them and I want to thank the team for all they did for me." 

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Comments

the silver hotpants have been a highlight of the year.
Somebody has to give those girls an umbrella for next year please?

Aoyama riding would be good too.

+1 re the hotpants. A sad day for MotoGP.

Methinks this is not the sort of "informed and intelligent" comments that David's site has become renowned for... :-)

Methinks mrs breganzane could get a sense of humour and not bother making the purile comments she is so obviously qualified for.
:(

My own (and Lowdcahn's) deliberate puErility was what I was making fun of. Perhaps too subtle for you, even with the smilie.

Comments more suited to this site's pre-eminent position in racing enthusiast's commentary might perhaps have been about the perilous state of MotoGP at present, the pitiful and still-shrinking grid sizes, the horrendous expense and scarcity of MotoGP bikes, the engineered under-performance of the satellite bikes, the unfortunate season that has befallen one of the best talents out of Japan in years, or the sad fact that sponsorship to run non-Italian/Spanish riders is so difficult to find.

But at that stage, the only 2 comments on the best racing website in the world were about the lamentable imminent disappearance of the best outfitted grid girls in MotoGP. I found that amusing.

This was a long time coming. Really hope Aoyama gets the Gresini seat though. I kind of agree with Dorna and HRC: with 3 out of 4 competing brands being Japanese, this series needs a Japanese rider and being the last ever 250 champ Aoyama definately deserves another shot.

.... this was a long time time coming, but when you see that 40 rider line up grid in Moto2 and the Blue Ribbon Class not even making 20 it looks poor.

We ( the sport ) need more people like KA Snr with lots of money to get teams into this sport !

Good luck to Aoyama-San he really seems like a top bloke. I hope his new ride works well.

It's really difficult to picture how the man who had Telefonica/Movistar sponsorship and race-winning bikes not very long ago is having difficulty finding benefactors.

I agree that HRC should be helping him/them put Aoyama in that seat, but I can't believe they don't have any "friends" or "corporate partners" from the homeland to bring along for the ride.

Gresini even has experience as a split-livery team, so I just can't see this situation staying untenable.

Can alcohol be advertised on the bikes in MotoGP?

I would think some Japanese beer or sake maker would have enough scratch to sponsor him. What about the plethora of electronics companies. Hey maybe even Kawasaki Heavy Industries? My brother works for a Japanese company that did over $11B USD recently in revenue and almost $400M USD in net income. Surely they can throw down some clams, but I suspect that the advertising wouldn't benefit them much.

Whilst this isn't good news for Aoyama or the Gresini team (can't afford to run 2 bikes is a big worry if there are to compete the whole year), I would think all is not lost for Hiro.....

2011 will be the final year of the 800's and with the switch to a potentially mixed formula in 2012 (800's/1000 81mm bore) it might be more advantageous for Hiro to go to Moto2 next year.

It would be fair to say that Moto2 has totally outshone MotoGP with it's spectacular racing and depth of field, and it would be also fair to say that it has generated huge interest from sponsors, TV, teams, riders etc.....

So if Hiro went to Moto2 I can only see the pros.

a) Being an ex-250 champ and MotoGP rider he would most likely get a good ride
b) More than has the potential to ride at the front
c) Would get more opportunity for sponsorship and career development
d) Have a better chance of scoring a good ride in MotoGP for 2012 as there will (hopefully) be more seats

Sometimes you have to take 1 step back to take 2 step forward. Look at Elias. The interesting thing to really consider though, is just how big Moto2 might get on a global scale.......