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Sepang MotoGP test: Gossip, rumour and intrigue

In a not very sporting broadside, Ducati’s MotoGP sporting director Paolo Ciabatti has pulled Honda’s pants down and told them they have been totally reliant on the talent of Marc Marquez for the last two-thirds of a decade.

The rogueish Italian said that Marquez has pulled Honda’s nuts out of the fire every year since 2013. This year, it might be different as the little Spaniard’s shoulder is seriously playing him up.

There was plenty of speculation - surprisingly centred in the reliable Italian media - that Marquez may have to go back under the knife to fix his shoulder which would have meant missing the Qatar season opener. This is, apparently, bollocks.


Puig has been, publicly at least, very gracious towards Jorge Lorenzo who left Honda saying he didn’t want to ride as he was worried about his back before promptly signing a deal with Yamaha and getting back on a bike at the Sepang test.

“What we have to say from a Honda point of view is that every person is free to do what he wants with his life. And we respect it. If after some months he decided to change and he had this opportunity we are happy for him,” said Puig, while turning puce with rage, we shouldn’t wonder.

Puig is also telling anyone who will listen that he is not putting Marquez Snr under pressure to sign for the next two years or so. ‘Important negotiations’ are being negotiated, he said, like a faster bike and more zeroes.

Meanwhile, in Bologna, Ciabatti and chief beard Gigi Dall’Igna have entirely failed to sign both Maverick Vinales and Joan Mir for the 2021-2022 seasons which probably leaves them with the option of Jack Miller in the works team and Danilo Petrucci either sweeping up or in WorldSBK. Or promoting Scott Redding back to the big leagues...

It appears Suzuki have verbally kept hold of Mir and Alex Rins for the next two seasons which leaves KTM, Aprilia, Ducati and Honda with factory seats unsigned.

There might be some twists when it comes to the satellite seats however, as Dorna’s deal with all the teams comes to end at the close of 2021 and some of the team might not be around in 2022, so two-year deals will not be an option as some teams might not be around in 2022…

There might be a VR46 tie in with Petronas should Valentino Rossi continue to race after this season. On the Sepang test form, he is still able to compete with the pack despite being 88 you know. This will calm Carmelo Ezpeleta’s fibrillating ticker as there is no naturally successing cash cow to replace The Doctor.

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