There’s no doubt that Randy de Puniet has had an amazing season this year. Finding his rhythm, and staying out of the gravel traps has allowed the sometimes shirtless frenchman to carry the flag for the Honda loyal…all while on a satellite spec machine. It therefore comes as no surprise that de Puniet has seen his contract with LCR extended to next year, and as an added bonus, he will compete in 2010 with a higher spec RC212V.
During his short-lived free agency, De Puniet had the opportunity to jump ship to Monster Tech3 Yamaha, one of the most coveted spots in the MotoGP satellite paddock, but instead stayed with LCR Honda. For de Puniet, part of the reason was loyalty, stating that:
“The 2010 season will be my fifth year in the MotoGP class. Honda are working hard to improve the machine and the LCR team is very professional. They are like a family to me. We have got the potential to get positive results and we will be trying our best again next year.”
Besides the atmosphere at LCR Honda, another factor for de Puniet was the level of machinery that would be available to him in next year’s series. An increasingly bigger topic in the paddock is the abolition of satellite teams competing on developmentally stunted motorcycles. Riders like de Puniet, who have been able to get on the podium despite having an inferior motorcycle, are keen to have a more even playing field develop in MotoGP, and get quicker access to updates and revisions to their race bikes throughout the season.
Hearing this call, Honda has decided to tier its satellite programs, and allow satellite teams to pay to have a motorcycle closer to factory spec. LCR Honda has taken the plunge, and hope that with a race bike that’s only a few races behind what Dani Pedrosa is riding on the Factory Repsol Honda team, Randy will be even more competitive than next year.