Yes silly season is well upon us now for MotoGP, and rumors are swelling after Livio Suppo spent time with Casey Stoner and his father during the MotoGP testing at Jerez, Spain. Suppo, who moved to HRC after 11 years with Ducati, is rumored to have met with Stoner in order to have the Australian rider make a switch of teams in 2011. The Honda marketing manager made it clear when he jumped ship from Ducati that he would be back for Stoner, a rumor that’s been confirmed by Loris Capirossi, and passed around the paddock more than a few times.
This silly season rumor isn’t without some faults though, as a move by Stoner into HRC would likely mean the exiting of Dani Pedrosa from the team. Pedrosa’s contract with HRC is up after this season, while Andrea Dovizioso’s contract has an option for the rider to renew with HRC for 2011, which would seemingly give him some immunity from a rider shuffling. Pedrosa has long been the #1 rider on HRC, and has garnered support from Spanish title sponsor Repsol, who would normally like nothing more than seeing a Spanish rider on their sponsored team.
However Pedrosa has also made some publicly unfriendly remarks as of late about HRC and their development of the RC212V. Whether related to these comments or not, Repsol has been rumored recently as giving its blessing on showing Pedrosa the door, which could allow HRC to pursue the pairing of Stoner and Dovizioso, but then again Pedrosa’s strong finish in Jerez may have silenced that tune to some degree.
The Spanish rider, despite his podium victory, is still complaining of problems with his Honda RC212V, while Dovi seems to be getting on with the machine quite well. Could all this be the formula needed to bring Stoner into Honda’s camp? It’s probably too early to tell, but as the silly season heats up we can certainly expect to hear more about Stoner and Pedrosa what their prospects for next season look like. Stay tuned race fans.