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GP Week : Issue 137
CAREER-long Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso has spurned his employers’ offer of a factory/satellite machine for next year, and changed brands to Yamaha. The 25-year-old Italian has admitted he is shortly to sign the one-year contract with Tech 3 Yamaha. Dovi turned his back on an offer of a factory-spec RC213V within the LCR team, which in theory would have put him on equal footing with career- long rival Marco Simoncelli. Instead he will take his chances in Yamaha’s only satellite team, hoping that some favour might come his way, if his results deserve it. The decision came after uncertainty at Motegi, with respective team managers on tenterhooks. LCR owner Lucio Cecchinello told GPWEEK he was in telephone contact with Dovi’s manager, and seemed more confident that Tech 3 team owner Hervé Poncharal as the weekend progressed. Poncharal was also courting Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista, and told GPWEEK: “It would be a good move for Dovizioso. His chances of a factory bike with Honda are finished. Next year’s new 1000cc Yamaha, the satellite and factory bikes will be very similar. If he can beat the factory riders, he may have a chance of a factory-bike future with Yamaha.” An official announcement confirming the move is expected today (Monday). Dovizioso has been a Honda rider throughout his GP career, which started in the 125 class in 2002. He won the title in 2004, moved to 250s and was twice runner up before switching to MotoGP in 2008. In spite of a win in Britain last year, his step-by- step progress has been overshadowed by Stoner and Pedrosa. With Simoncelli the new future favourite he has slid further down the pecking order. His switch to HRC’s major rival is a clear rebuff to the factory. Dovi switches sides – to Yamaha A HAIRLINE fracture to his left little- finger proved disproportionately costly to Rossi’s troubled campaign to turn his Ducati into a race winner when the multiple champion was forced to miss his last chance this season to test new and different chassis designs. Although track-side X-rays were clear, continued pain and swelling sent Rossi to Italian doctors on his return from Motegi, and additional X-rays detected the hairline fracture in ossification following an earlier fracture in 1995. He would be fit for the Australian GP, said Ducati’s statement, but it did rule him out of that Thursday’s scheduled test of next year’s GP12 machine. Nick Hayden, home in Kentucky from Japan for 18 hours, had to jump straight onto another aircraft to fly to Spain to stand in for his team-mate. Hayden was able to dodge questions as to what combination he had ridden, travelling from Spain via Bangkok, bound for Australia. Asked for details on his Twitter account, Hayden wrote: “I plead the 5th (Amendment) ... it all went smooth.” Crucially this was the eighth of eight days allowed for MotoGP riders to test their new 1000cc machines for next year, and thus Rossi’s last chance until after Valencia not only to test his 2012 prototype, but also to test alternative chassis solutions. Ducati is known to have commissioned a full aluminium twin- beam chassis from England’s FTR specialists, and Rossi is suspected to have already tested it at Jerez at the last outing. Rossi’s finger scuppers last-chance Ducati test Spare-part rider spurns Honda’s sop 16