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GP Week : Issue 71
Moto GP news >> Ducati team boss switches to Honda IN the wake of the capture of three race engineers from the factory Yamaha team, the factory Honda squad has recruited Ducati project manager Livio Suppo to join the Repsol-backed team next year. Suppo, right, has been with Ducati since 1999, and was responsible for recruiting Stoner to the team in 2007. He had decided to leave, he said, to move out of team management. He will join Repsol Honda as marketing manager. "For the first year I will get to know the team and the people, and work on finding sponsorship and riders for 2011," he said. His place at Ducati will be taken by test rider Vittoriano Guareschi as team manager, with current Ducati Corse marketing manager Alessandro Cicognani taking over as project leader. All concerned denied rumours that Suppo had been eased out of the position, with Stoner particularly paying tribute: "Livio has been great for me," he said. "He has supported me in everything: when I was away in the middle of the season he put no pressure on me, and emailed me every two or three days." Footnote: There was another shock, when long-time Ducati Superbike team chief Davide Tardozzi announced on the weekend that he was to quit the team, after losing the 2009 championship to Yamaha. Tardozzi also manages Ducati rider Michel Fabrizio, whose performance during the year frequently robbed team-mate Nori Haga of points, contributing to the loss of the title. Paddock rumours linked Tardozzi with a possible move to Yamaha, to take over the team management role in Lorenzo's pit vacated by the departing Daniele Romagnoli. Team Roberts out as Moto2 list is nalised PLANS for former triple World Champion and pre-eminent team principal Kenny Roberts to return to racing in Moto2 have fallen through, after the American failed to find the finances to support his plan for a two-rider team in the new 250 replacement class. Team Roberts is one of three teams that has dropped off the original list, published at the Portuguese GP, when it was finalised at Valencia. The others are Pramac Racing, whose plans were in any case not firm; and Team Balatonring. One reserve team has been put on the permanent list: the high-glamour Banderas squad backed by Mask of Zorro star Antonio Banderas. It will field 125 veteran Joan Olive, and ex-Spanish championship star Kenny Noyes. "The number of riders has dropped from 39 to 37," said teams' association IRTA chief Mike Trimby. Rider's names will not be officially published until December, to give teams a chance to make their own announcements, and also because only some 60 percent of the riders are finalised, said Trimby: "The teams without riders have been able to satisfy us that they will have riders of sufficient quality." All but one of the teams had paid up the US$25,000-per-rider deposit to IRTA, and he was satisfied that the team which had not paid would do so. "We know why they haven't paid, and they will be able to do so," he said. Two more new chassis were launched at Valencia: the German Kalex, which will be used by the Sito Pons team; and Team Scot's exclusive Rapid Inside chassis. This brings the number of prospective chassis manufacturers to 13, although not all of them will find customers. 15