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GP Week : Issue 93
Brno to solve Silly Season uncertainties THE longest and most unsettling silly season in living memory is set to be terminated at Brno, with several formal announcements expected -- including the official line-up of the Yamaha team. At the same weekend, Rossi and Ducati are expected to confirm the worst-kept secret in racing: that he is to move to the Italian manufacturer for the next two years. This confirmation was held up in a complex network of deals among the top players involved in the biggest top-line talent-swap in memory. Ducati and Yamaha had a gentleman's agreement to sit on the news until after the US GP at Laguna, where Yamaha is heavily involved as an event sponsor. The payoff is permission for Rossi to start testing his new machine the day after the final GP at Valencia. At the same time, Honda has secured agreement from Ducati for Stoner to start testing his new 2011 mount at the same end-of- season tests. This is a crucial matter: with close-season testing severely restricted to save costs, riders need every chance they can get to gain familiarity. When Rossi left Honda for Yamaha this permission was denied ... but at that time testing was not restricted, and they were able to make up for it after the start of the new year. Yamaha chief Lin Jarvis has told Pressmen he hopes to finalise Yamaha's line-up by Brno. This is almost certain to pair Jorge Lorenzo with Ben Spies. Ducati are expected to confirm Hayden as team-mate to Rossi. This leaves Honda to reveal which of their current factory riders will be teamed with Stoner: it is expected to be Pedrosa, with Dovizioso seconded to a satellite team with factory backing. Suzuki may lure Toni Elias back to the class to partner Alvaro Bautista: Capirossi seems destined to join the Pramac Ducati satellite team. Tit-for-tat deals open way for early tests for Rossi, Stoner "We need to sort out the starts" -- Hayden Moto GP news >> 17