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GP Week : Issue 83
GPWEEK OPINION >> How silly can a Silly Season get? Well, there are no limits, really. Perhaps a better question is: how long can a Silly Season get? The 2010 Who-Goes-Where rumour mill is scheduled to overheat long before the normal commencement date, a month or two down the line. New deals are whispered about then contradicted almost as often as lap times click up on the timing screens. The strongest may even be true ... that Stoner has already signed to move to the factory Honda team next year. Although of course everyone, from the rider to the team, is denying it. The move would make sense. Casey doesn't seem unhappy at Ducati, but he is an ambitious young cuss with plenty to prove. Firstly, he would have the chance to pull Honda out of a slough of under- achievement that has persisted ever since Hayden won the last 990 title in 2006. This would win him plenty, in terms of respect, hard cash, and possibly even a long-term future. Secondly, he would be following a lead set by Rossi. When the great man switched from Honda to Yamaha in 2004, he made his intentions perfectly clear. Feeling sidelined by a company that values engineers more than riders, he wanted to prove it was the rider who won, not the motorcycle. And he certainly did that. The same opportunity is now there for Casey, who already knows some of Honda's strengths, having ridden for the LCR satellite team in his first MotoGP season of 2006. Were he to become champion on a Honda, it would make him one of only four riders to win the premier-class title on different makes of motorcycle. The first was Geoff Duke back in the 1950s (Norton and Gilera). It was another four decades before the next came around. It was four-times champion Eddie Lawson, with a sensational late switch from Yamaha to Honda in 1989. Eddie won those titles in consecutive years. So too did the next man, Rossi. This chance won't be there for Casey. Unless of course he wins on a Honda and then switches victoriously to yet another team. Anyway, word from sources close to Ducati is that he has signed for Honda: "It's only a hunch," said GPWeek's confidential informant. "But I think it is a done deal." If so, the knock-on effect will be stunning. Especially since at the same time the situation at Yamaha needs to be resolved. It seems likely they will have to decide between Rossi and Lorenzo, freeing up one or another to take over from Casey at Ducati. It may only be the silly season, but some of these rumours are getting really serious. MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor opinion line. A staged finish, WWF style, designed to make it look like a racing finish but actually not. Perhaps the FIA's amendment should be that, when the Safety Car comes in and the F1 cars pass the pitlane, that's it -- game on. Doing that in Monaco with the 12 remaining cars would have been a right squeeze and may have resulted in the same thing we saw with Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok which brought out the Safety Car in the first place. But who cares. Last corner clashes are dramatic. I say bring it on. There's nothing more fun than seeing a car cross the finish line with its rear wheels hanging off. That's why the 1993 Italian Grand Prix, when Christian Fittipaldi went airborne, is my all time favorite chequered flag moment. Re-starting the race on the next lap, after the Safety Car has come in, is sensible for the alternative could be dangerous. But when it's on the last lap, perhaps the FIA can allow us a clause in the interests of an exciting, worthy finish. er should always count Safety Car regs need an update? Let 'em fight it out, says A H-N ... 21