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If, as is hotly-rumoured, Troy Corser does a disappearing act and leaves Santander Yamaha to become Ruben Xaus' team-mate at BMW for 2009, who gets the seat next to Huddersfield's finest?

Yamaha team boss Massimo Meregalli has been listening to former team-mate and friend James Whitham, who happens to hail from the same part of the world as Sykes, so what else could Whit have been whispering?

Our AMA colleague Carole Shellby spoke to more than one person at the Indy MotoGP round who said that three-time champ Ben Spies had done a deal with Yamaha, and that Yamaha were staying in AMA, not defecting to the new series. Could they have meant Yamaha Italia instead?


Spies has made no secret of the fact he doesn't want to race in the States next year but a deal with Rizla Suzuki has passed him by and a possible seat with the JiR team has also now fallen through with the news that team boss Luca Montiron will not be getting an RC212V from Honda.

Now the GSE Racing is a Yamaha team, could Shane Byrne move into WSB alongside Sykes? That would be a big gamble on Meregalli's part as neither Sykes nor Byrne are massively familiar with the tracks on which WSB is run.

Sylvain Guintoli, a former Tec3 Yamaha MotoGP rider, tested the 2008 R1 on Monday and got to within a second of Nori Haga's laptime at Vallelunga. However, Meregalli said: "We think we have all the elements in place to decide on the second rider, whose name will be communicated quite soon."

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