Thursday, 23 August 2012
Track - It's official, Ducati and Yamaha swap Italians
So the silly season for factory bikes is over. Ducati announced that Andrea Dovisioso would take Valentino Rossi's seat next year, having signed a contract until 2014. The likely candidate for this ride has changed from Rossi staying, to Dovi's team mate Crutchlow, and finally to Dovi. The irony of the situation is that Dovi had moved to Yamaha Tech 3 with the hopes to move up to Spies' seat in the Factory team. With Spies quitting Yamaha, it seemed that the plan was falling into place, however Rossi's desire to get on a competitive bike asap blocked this path for Dovi. Crutchlow 'The Honey Badger' has been speaking publically about the verbal offer he had from Ducati for a long time and will be dismayed by the way he has been strung along and ultimately dumped in favour of his team mate.
So Dovi is now back in a factory team, but the underperforming one. The Ducati has been a career killer for all but Stoner so it is a brave move, however Dovi will be hoping that new Audi money and technology will fast track the development of the bike.
So confirmed riders for 2013 prototype bikes are now:
Factory Yamaha Racing: Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi
Repsol Honda: Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez
Ducati Team: Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovisioso
LCR Honda: Stefan Bradl
Tech 3 Yamaha: Bradley Smith
Cardion Ducati: Karel Abraham
The key riders looking for a ride are now Cal Crutchlow (who you would think would stay with Tech 3), Ben Spies (Could return with Suzuki to MotoGP or go to WSBK with BMW), Hector Barbera (who is currently injured) and Alvaro Bautista (talk is that his ride at Gresini is at risk).