It didn’t take long for the other shoe to drop, and now it is official that Casey Stoner will race with HRC in 2011, after it was announced moments ago that the Australian would be leaving the Ducati MotoGP team. Perhaps the most unexpected development in this announcement is HRC’s intentions of keeping both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso for the 2011 season.
The likely result of this will be a two-man Repsol Honda team, and a second single-bike team, which is likely to be sponsored by Red Bull. Rumors have pegged the continuance of a Pedrosa/Dovi Repsol Honda team, which puts Stoner on the single-bike Red Bull team. However, a Stoner/Pedrosa rumor has also persisted, and makes more sense given Dovi’s current Red Bull sponsorship. But at this point nothing is certain.
“We are very pleased that Casey will join Honda again next year. Clearly he is one of the top riders in MotoGP and he will bring valuable speed and experience to our team,” said HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. “In the factory Honda squad we already have two very strong and experienced riders in Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso who are performing very well and currently hold second and third positions in the 2010 World Championship. HRC hopes also to retain these two riders for next year – giving us what would be a truly formidable line-up.”
As news comes out from HRC about the structure of its factory supported team(s), we’ll post it here on Asphalt & Rubber.