Reigning Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias will return to the big show for the 2011 season, as the Spanish rider has secured a contract with the LCR Honda satellite team. Elias has been on fire this season in Moto2, easily establishing himself as the dominate rider in the class. Looking to secure Moto2 as the feeder series for MotoGP, Dorna is rumored to have helped secure Elias’s return to premiere racing, after he lost his ride in the San Carlo Gresini Honda squad in 2009.
Here’s a Sunday afternoon rumor for you. Lucio Cecchinello, owner and manager of LCR Honda, has been looking for sponsorship in some atypical places. Italian magazine Motocorse is reporting that the Playboy bunny head will be gracing Randy de Puniet’s MotoGP race bike soon as LCR Honda’s newest sponsor.
Avenues to ride in MotoGP for the 2009 season are becoming dead-ends for Marco Melandri. In case you haven’t read A&R the last few weeks, Kawasaki’s pull-out from MotoGP has sent the young Italian scrambling for a ride this coming season, with his latest stop being in the Honda camp.
Lucio Cecchinello, manager for LCR Honda, admits to having been approached by friends of Melandri to see if the team would be interested in sponsoring a second bike alongside Randy de Puniet.
Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
Employing the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” line, the LCR boss issued the statement: “I was asked by the manager of Melandri to run in 2009, but this will not happen for the following reasons,” said Lucio. “First, we can not afford to include a second driver. The current economic situation does not allow us to consider an investor can pay Melandri, especially given his last season. ”
“Secondly, even if I talked to Honda, I am almost certain they would be against the idea of providing a new motorcycle. This would HRC to new engines, to invest in new parts and another crew. We are in a period where Honda wants to save rather than spend even more money. Finally, it is too late to hire staff and new mechanics. There is therefore no chance to see Melandri join my team. ”
There is still some speculation that a white knight might step in to take over the Factory Kawasaki effort, this possibility earned further credence today as Carmelo Ezpeleta from Dorna released the fact that Kawasaki has a signed contract to run in MotoGP until 2011.
Ezpeleta stated that “Once they [Kawasaki] informed me of their desire to stop, I began negotiations with them, arguing the contract they had signed and I asked them to reconsider their best decision, or at worst of postponing…The possibility of two Kawasaki on the grid in 2009, in one form or another, can not be ruled out. They signed a contract and a contract can not be ignored in a day.”
Get the popcorn folks, its only going to get more interesting from here on out.