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GP Week : Issue 59
>>Moto GPnews Pedrosa, Dovizioso stay with Honda; Melandri to return THE factory Repsol Honda team will retain the same rider line-up for the next two years, with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso staying put. This was announced at Brno by new HRC president Tetsuo Suzuki. But with no contracts yet signed, the Stoner situation may also change this. “We have today reached basic agreement with the riders,” said Suzuki, at a general Press briefing on Friday. This was promptly denied by Pedrosa’s manager Alberto Puig; but he later clarified the position, saying: “Nothing has been signed, but we are not considering any other offer now;” while Pedrosa said: “Conversations are going very well.” Meanwhile the worst-kept secret in the paddock was finally let out of the bag … that Marco Melandri is to return to Fausto Gresini’s San Carlo Honda team, where he will join new signing Marco Simoncelli. The team expects to get a single factory Honda again, earmarked for Melandri, who took his five MotoGP victories riding for the team, before leaving for his disastrous 2008 Ducati year. This confirms that both current riders, Toni Elias and Alex de Angelis, are without a ride for next year – in spite of the former’s fine first rostrum of the season. Elias hit out at a lack of help from Honda, though his machine is supposedly a factory-spec machine: “I didn’t get any help from Honda – I got help from my team,” he said. Bautista shuns mentor ‘Aspar’ for factory Suzuki FORMER 125 World Champion Alvaro Bautista has turned down the chance to stay with his long-time team chief Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez to join the factory Suzuki team, with a two-year contract confirmed at Brno. The 24-year-old Spaniard was top of Aspar’s list for his own new MotoGP team, which will run the satellite Ducati allotted this year to the now defunct GFH team for Sete Gibernau. Instead, he took the Rizla Suzuki offer, which will put him straight into a full factory team … with no satellite bikes on the grid, Suzuki is exempt from the rule banning class rookies from factory machines. With Loris Capirossi said to be close to agreement to stay with Suzuki next year, this leaves his current team-mate Chris Vermeulen out in the cold. The Australian has been linked with a low-budget move to Tech 3 Yamaha, but there are several other candidates for that seat. They now also include Toni Elias. Elias was high on Aspar’s B-list, but it is understood he asked for too much money, and the Spanish team chief has turned instead to another Spaniard, Hector Barbera, currently in the 250 class. 1