Marco Simoncelli close to extending HRC MotoGP contract

Marco Simoncelli is close to extending his MotoGP contract with Honda, with the Italian rider saying negotiations with HRC are 'ongoing' and now on a technical details level

Marco Simoncelli close to extending HRC MotoGP contract

There has been much speculation over HRC's 2012 line-up after the devastating effects of the tsunami that struck Japan in March put the team under pressure to make drastic cuts - said to be 30% - to its racing budget.

The Japanese manufacturer is likely to have only two works bikes, for Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, which has raised the prospect of either Simoncelli or current works rider Andrea Dovizioso being dropped for 2012.

Simoncelli is reportedly close to agreeing an extension with HRC, with Italy's Gazzetta reporting that an offer is on the table - although it could force Simoncelli to abandon the crew that has followed him since his 250cc title season, something the Italian does not feel is right.

"Negotiations are ongoing," Simoncelli is quoted as saying by Gazzetta. "We are discussing technical details.

"I'm open to reinforcements, but changing the crew completely is not right. After two years where we've improved together, it would be strange to break it all apart when it's time to reap the fruits.

"We'll see in Indy and I hope to be as optimistic as I feel now. I'd like to go back home with a clearer situation, because it would be important to have a decision, even if it's not the proper contract yet, by Misano."

Livio Suppo, the former Ducati head who switched to Honda for 2010, confirmed that HRC had asked Simoncelli to switch crews but said he was open to negotiation on the issue.

"[HRC vice president Shuhei] Nakamoto would like to strengthen the technical side in order to give Marco maximum support because, even if the team has improved, he still sees something lacking.

"We understand the importance the rider gives to his current crew though so at Indy, during negotiations, we may backtrack on this point."

If an agreement is reached Simoncelli would stay with the satellite Gresini team, for whom he scored his first podium in MotoGP in the last round at Brno.

Fausto Gresini says that retaining Simoncelli, and having two bikes to run, are crucial if the relationship with Honda is to be maintained.

"This time is really delicate and I hope everything gets sorted by Indianapolis already. That's because for me it's important to continue the long relationship I have with Honda, but it's vital to carry on with Marco.

"Being able to field two bikes is fundamental, even if one of them has the engine derived from road production. It's a bit of a troubling matter for the Japanese."

Gazzetta reports that, as a result of the Simoncelli developments, Dovizioso is not expected to be retained.

shares
comments
Honda suggests switching Japanese GP from Motegi to Suzuka this year
Previous article

Honda suggests switching Japanese GP from Motegi to Suzuka this year

Next article

Ben Spies unsure whether his trapped nerve will be a problem at Indianapolis GP

Ben Spies unsure whether his trapped nerve will be a problem at Indianapolis GP
Load comments
The salary hit MotoGP riders face in 2022 Plus

The salary hit MotoGP riders face in 2022

Rider salaries in the premier class have dropped significantly in the last four years, mainly due to the effects of the pandemic. But it has also changed due to a shift in the contractual model used by manufacturers, which is set to have a significant impact on the balance of power in 2022

Injury, COVID, camels and redemption: A MotoGP star's Dakar odyssey Plus

Injury, COVID, camels and redemption: A MotoGP star's Dakar odyssey

Danilo Petrucci’s decision to switch to rallying at the conclusion of his time in MotoGP at the end of 2021 raised many eyebrows. Deciding to make his rally raid debut at the Dakar courted scepticism. With his debut almost over on several occasions before it began, Petrucci’s Dakar odyssey was a wild affair full of ups, downs and a run-in with a camel. He sat down with Autosport to reveal all

MotoGP
Jan 25, 2022
Why a difficult 2021 hasn't broken one Honda MotoGP ace's resolve Plus

Why a difficult 2021 hasn't broken one Honda MotoGP ace's resolve

Pol Espargaro’s switch to Honda for 2021 was one of MotoGP’s biggest rider market shocks. But a difficult bike coupled with various external factors led to a difficult first campaign. As a critical 2022 campaign for both Espargaro and Honda looms, his 2021 experience hasn’t dented his long-held resolve

MotoGP
Jan 17, 2022
The Drive to Survive mistakes MotoGP must avoid in 2022 Plus

The Drive to Survive mistakes MotoGP must avoid in 2022

OPINION: MotoGP will get its own Drive to Survive-style series in 2022, airing on Amazon Prime Video. It’s a much-needed grab at the mainstream for MotoGP, but a paradigm shift in the series highlighted by one of its leading stars must be embraced and not overshadowed by a desire to replicate DTS’s popcorn drama

MotoGP
Jan 10, 2022
Why KTM's latest young outcast is a cautionary tale for MotoGP Plus

Why KTM's latest young outcast is a cautionary tale for MotoGP

Iker Lecuona’s absence from the 2022 MotoGP grid after losing his KTM ride will likely pass most onlookers by. But after just 30 race starts in a MotoGP move he was sucked into by circumstance, the World Superbike-bound 21-year-old's story should act as a warning to KTM - and MotoGP as a whole - in regards to its future stars

MotoGP
Jan 4, 2022
How Ducati's expanded roster will threaten MotoGP's balance in 2022 Plus

How Ducati's expanded roster will threaten MotoGP's balance in 2022

That Ducati will compete with eight prototypes in MotoGP this year is nothing new, having already done so between 2016 and 2018. But the involvement and coverage of the Borgo Panigale company in its alliances is now much greater than in past years, which could have the effect of unbalancing the premier class

MotoGP
Jan 3, 2022
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2021

Eight different riders won races across an ultra-competitive 2021 MotoGP season. Although Fabio Quartararo wrapped up the title with two rounds to go, the Yamaha rider had strong competition from the revitalised Ducati factory team and the world championship's returning king. Autosport picks out the year's 10 best riders

MotoGP
Dec 23, 2021
How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king Plus

How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king

Doubts were cast over Yamaha’s French recruit after his disastrous end to the 2020 MotoGP season with Petronas SRT, but Fabio Quartararo answered them convincingly in 2021 to claim a MotoGP title that exhibited both his devastating speed and mental strength

MotoGP
Dec 7, 2021