It would seem all the OEM’s are playing nice with each this year, as all four of the aliens are up for contract renewal. In past years we’ve seen teams hold their riders to the full extent of their contract limits, rather than letting testing begin after the last GP races, as is the established custom. As such, we’ll see Valentino Rossi testing at Valencia after the final GP race, per Yamaha and Ducati’s gentlemen’s agreement, and now MCN‘s Matthew Birt is reporting that we’ll also get to see Casey Stoner begin testing with HRC after the Valencian GP round as well.
According to MCN, Alessandro Cicognani, Ducati Corse’s MotoGP Project manager, has confirmed that Ducati has given Honda the green light to begin testing with Stoner after the GP race at Valencia. Taking to the track on Monday after race with the RC212V, Stoner will get his first glimpse at returning to HRC, although there is still much speculation as to whom his teammate will be (if anyone).
Stoner was the first man to fall into HRC’s three-man team scheme. Hoping to either field three Repsol Honda machines, or a second single-bike team sponsored by Red Bull, Honda has had a tough time finding the dollars to make everything happen. Rumored to be close to signing Dani Pedrosa (the Spanish press is already calling this a done deal), and having a rumored “performance” clause that would see Andrea Dovizioso automatically getting a contract extension if he finishes in the top five this season, it will be interesting to see how Honda handles all its obligations.