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GP Week : Issue 97
With the main changes confirmed, a small flurry of official announcements and at least one significant silence wrapped up most of top packages for 2011, and beyond. There were no surprises in the news that did come. On Friday, Yamaha announced that for the second year of his current two- year contract, Ben Spies will be moved to the factory team, to replace Rossi. The Superbike champion, whose rookie year in MotoGP has been highly impressive, responded by claiming his first pole position the next afternoon. Spies claimed a first rostrum at Silverstone and his first front row at the last round at Brno. "Having previously been to only four of the ten tracks to date, I have to be pleased," he said. Ducati followed up on Saturday with another worst-kept secret: that they have retained the services of Nicky Hayden. He has another two years with the factory team, as team-mate to Rossi. Hayden made a slow start on the Desmosedici in 2009, but impressed the factory with his determination to improve, and this year has seen the reward in an improved level of results. He too qualified on the front row at Indianapolis -- the 2006 World Champion's first time up front with Ducati. But Yamaha had nothing to say about Jorge Lorenzo, who confirmed that he had yet to sign on the dotted line. Neither rider nor factory have much option, but the 2010 World Champion elect is holding out for an increase to an offer thought to stand at some 14-million Euros (US$17.8m). The other deafening silence was from Honda. Pedrosa is expected to stay alongside new factory rider Stoner, but Dovizioso (also having a strong season) remains in limbo. The most obvious solution to contractual promises of a factory bike would be to supply the machine to the Gresini San Carlos team and move him across. But this would be at the expense of existing Gresini rider Simoncelli, who expects factory support next year. Unless Gresini's top satellite team gets two factory bikes. Spies replaces Rossi, Hayden gets two ... but Lorenzo is holding out for more... Lorenzo sets new records ... but Rossi predicts problems JORGE Lorenzo's amazing season has seen him set a record that Rossi (himself a keen history man) might envy. The 23-year-old Spaniard has joined two great names from history -- Giacomo Agostini and Mick Doohan -- as one of only three riders to come first or second in the first ten GPs of a season. His consistent success with the Fiat Yamaha has also made him the most successful Spanish rider in the class -- seven wins have moved him ahead of 1999 champion Alex Criville's best tally in a season, with still half the year to go. Reluctant team-mate Rossi is now chasing Agostini's record total of 122 GP wins, with 18 to go, but is to leave Yamaha to chance his arm with Ducati, after refusing to ride again in the same team as his strongest-ever rival. And Rossi had some pithy comments for Lorenzo's discomfort. After Spies's pole position following closely on the heels that the American is to join Yamaha next year, where he will team with Lorenzo, Rossi said: "I am happy for Lorenzo. It looks like he will have a 'Jorge' of his own to worry about next year." 18