The MotoGP Musical Chairs: Rossi to Ducati Saga


Valentino Rossi: Will he or won't he?

Stop. The. Presses.

There’s one more reason to watch the Czech MotoGP Race this weekend, as apparently, Motorcycle-Racing Demigod Valentino Rossi will announce his decision on whether he will stay with his current team Yamaha or move to Ducati within that weekend.

Now, since current Ducati rider Casey Stoner has already announced his imminent departure from Ducati to move to Honda by 2011, I have to say that I won’t be entirely surprised if Rossi does choose to move to the Dukes, especially after Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio has inadvertently let something slip in an under-the-radar article:

Rossi to Ducati in 2011

Unfortunately, that article got sniffed out by the Press and has now spawned a circus. Way to preempt a huge announcement, eh?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. For now, Vale is still a Yam rider and nothing is set in stone yet, so meanwhile, let’s play a little game of permutations for the 2011 season:

Scenario 1:

Rossi leaves Yamaha, moves to Ducati

Ducati: Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden

Reunion of the former Honda teammates. I don’t see any possible tension here as I’m sure Hayden will toe the line and understand that Rossi IS Rossi and will therefore be the King of the Team. Besides, Ducati have been gagging for a competent Italian rider for a while now and no doubt that it will be Vale or nothing for them.

Yamaha: Jorge Lorenzo stays, Ben Spies from Tech3 Yamaha will be promoted

Reigning World Superbikes Champion Ben Spies will be one lucky mofo, as he’ll get the chance to ride the much-coveted Yamaha bike after only a year in a satellite MotoGP bike. What will be interesting to see is whether Yamaha will give those 2 riders equal status and how Ben will cope with having Jorge as a teammate.

Honda: Casey Stoner is sure to take 1 seat. Who will they retain, Dani Pedrosa or Andrea Dovizioso?

Dani Pedrosa has been HRC’s favourite son since 2006 and has even managed to oust the 2006 Champ Nicky Hayden from the team. Speculation says that both Pedrosa and Dovizioso have clauses in their contracts that state an automatic retention if they finish within the Top 4 in the Final Standings, and they’re currently in 2nd and 3rd. HRC will then have quite a dilemma. However, other sources say that HRC will be able to run 3 Factory bikes next season, with Red Bull possibly backing Casey Stoner.

Tech3 Yamaha: Will Colin Edwards be retained or be shipped off to WSBKs? If Ben Spies moves up to Factory Yam then Cal Crutchlow steps up

Yamaha’s satellite team also faces a tough task ahead in confirming their 2011 lineup. Since Spies is contracted to Yamaha, they can’t stop him from moving to the Factory Team if Vale bolts, but the question is whether they’ll choose to resign the aging Colin Edwards or go find another younger rider. The favorite to replace Spies is current World Supersport Champ and WSBK Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow, who’s currently 5th in the WSBKs standings.

Scenario 2:

Rossi stays in Yamaha

Yamaha: Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

The power struggle between the Prince and the (So-Called) Pretender will go on for one more season.

Ducati: Nicky Hayden and Mystery Rider

Ducati will be forced to look for a competent replacement for Casey Stoner stat. They’ve once been rumoured to have approached Dani Pedrosa but the history of Hayden and Pedrosa will be a major stumbling block. The next decent Italian rider after Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, is supposedly in an airtight HRC contract.

Honda: Casey Stoner and Mystery Rider

See the HRC dilemma from Scenario 1. Possible solution is HRC decides to terminate either Pedrosa’s or Dovizioso’s existing contract so they can go to Ducati or another team and the other rider stays at HRC to partner Stoner.

Tech 3 Yamaha: Ben Spies and Cal Crutchlow

Rossi staying at Yamaha will pretty much spell an end to Colin Edwards’ tenure in MotoGP, unless Ducati takes a major gamble by signing him.


Dizzying much?

The only safe conclusion here is everything will fall into place once Valentino Rossi’s big decision is announced, hopefully within the Czech MotoGP weekend.

Meanwhile, why do I have this nagging feeling that amidst all of this, the one rider that will truly benefit is someone named Jorge Lorenzo?

*dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn*


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