Talking to GPone, Lucio Cecchinello, the LC in LCR Honda, let it slip that at the Australian GP Dorna expects to hear from Suzuki regarding its 2012 MotoGP plans. Cecchinello of course has a vested interest in what Suzuki decides to do for 2012, as the Italian racing boss is keen on poaching Álvaro Bautista from the factory Suzuki team should it disband, especially now that Andrea Dovizioso has signed with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad.
Dovizioso was Cecchinello’s first for the LCR team, and was reportedly willing to spend the coin (4-5 million) for a factory-suppoted Honda RC213V for the Italian. It’s not clear whether the team would run similar hardware with another rider, but now that Dovi has signed onto the Yamaha bandwagon (have no doubt that a path to a factory bike was mentioned during negotiations), Cecchinello is clear that Bautista is at the top of the list. Also reportedly in the mix is John Hopkins, though the Anglo-American has made his loyalties to Suzuki very clear, and Randy de Puniet, who has had a miserable time since leaving LCR Honda, and vice versa.
It’s been no secret in the MotoGP paddock that LCR Honda’s current rider, Toni Elias, would be seeing the door after the 2011 season concluded, as the Spanish rider has had a miserable season in MotoGP. Riding dominantly to win the Moto2 Championship, Elias’ riding style never gelled with the 800cc machinery, and perhaps more importantly, couldn’t adapt to the spec Bridgestone tires. With those kind of issues plaguing the otherwise likable Toni the Tiger, it is not expected that another ride in MotoGP will materialize for Elias. Best paddock gossip puts him in the World Superbike series for next year, though we’ll have to wait and see on that rumor.
Source: GPone; Photo: Rizla Suzuki