Phil Baker worked with MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden (2004-10) and race winner Chris Vermeulen (2007-10) before setting up his own company, SA 1 Management.

The US-based Brit then managed Factory Yamaha MotoGP star Ben Spies and now works with reigning Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl, who is stepping up to MotoGP this season with LCR Honda.

Got a question for Phil? Post your questions for the next installment of Baker's Dozen within the comments section below...

1. Q:
What's your overall verdict on the opening European rounds of the year, at Jerez and Estoril?

Phil Baker:
It appears that it is business as usual up at the front end of the action. Fortunately the Yamaha and Honda bikes appear closer in performance than last year and some riders clearly prefer the 1000 versus the 800.

In both GPs, Jorge was right behind Casey and got as close as 0.3 of a second before dropping back again. Given the closeness of performance I'm sure that we will see more overtaking as the season progresses.

2. Q:
Do you think the title will be decided by gaining the most race wins, or making the least mistakes?

Phil Baker:
Nicky Hayden won the championship back in 2006 by taking a podium 10 times in the first 11 races. He won two races throughout the season and still won the championship title. That tells you right there that consistency will decide the championship rather than number of wins.
3. Q:
Valentino Rossi's tough start has continued...

Phil Baker:
Everybody talks of Valentino's demise and only one podium since he has been with Ducati, but I know how hard the guys in red are working, and I believe that it will only be a matter of time before we see him breaking into the top five. I genuinely hope so, as we need him back up the front.
4. Q:
Yamaha Tech 3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso have been evenly matched just behind the top three. How do you see the contest between them developing?

Phil Baker:
The battle between the two is really refreshing for the championship. The resurgent Cal is like a breath of fresh air and great for the British fans. Dovi is a tough competitor and is going to be doing all he can to beat his team-mate, but seeing a Tech 3 bike back on the podium is only just around the corner. It would be a toss of a coin to guess which one of them it will be. That said, seeing a Brit back on the podium will be awesome.
5. Q:
It looks like Estoril might drop off the MotoGP calendar next year. If so, will you be sad to see it go?

Phil Baker:
Very sad. The track is steeped in history and the surrounding area is so friendly and welcoming. The track is regarded as a bit short for the top bikes, but it is a great spectacle and the atmosphere is always very passionate.
6. Q:
In your view, should the MotoGP calendar increase from the present 18 rounds?

Phil Baker:
No. 18 races in a season is a heck of a lot considering the coordination and transportation of all the teams, parts, bikes etc. More to the point should be where those 18 races are held.

There are countries crying out for the championship to visit - Argentina, Brazil, India, China, Russia to name a few. Argentina is currently looking promising for next year, but we will have to wait and see if there will be any other changes.
7. Q:
All of the top riders are out of contract at the end of this year, how do you think the negotiations will play out?

Phil Baker:
This one is the question that everyone in the paddock has started to ask. There is a lot of talk but I suspect that Honda will retain Casey and Dani, Yamaha will retain Jorge, with the wild-card being if Valentino continues or retires.

8. Q:
Some say the retirement rumours - denied by both Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi - might have been leaked to strengthen their hand regarding 2013 contract negotiations. Is that likely?

Phil Baker:
No, I disagree. Casey was very blunt and direct in the press conference at Estoril and even suggested to one particular journalist that he shouldn't read what he writes! I believe that both of these riders are extremely passionate about riding and that any thought of retirement at this stage in the season is really not plausible.

One interesting rumour was that Vale would start his own team and run a factory Yamaha under his own name and with his own team, but again, it's too early in the season to make such predictions and only time will tell.
9. Q:
Do you think that the problems with Nicky Hayden's bike at Estoril - where his ECU was out of phrase with the bike's actual position on the race track - underlines that electronics have gone too far in MotoGP?

Phil Baker:
The manufacturers are in this to develop bikes which will ultimately be their product line for the road bikes of tomorrow. The sport needs the technology and needs to be seen as the high tech end of the sport. Such development is a good thing and MotoGP needs to be seen to leading the way in this area.
10. Q:
Stefan Bradl is now seventh in the championship and just one place behind Alvaro Bautista on the other satellite Honda. How is Stefan evolving as MotoGP rider? What has he learnt in these past two rounds and what are his targets looking ahead?

Phil Baker:
Stefan has been a joy to work with. His whole outlook and approach to the job is so professional and precise. He is an amazing talent and is surpassing all expectations at this early point in his Moto GP career. To be in front of former world champions and so many factory riders is amazing and a great credit both to him and his LCR team.

He is evolving at a steady pace and not trying to get too far in front of himself. The last two rounds have been a steep learning curve. Although he knows the track, he is having to find new braking points and adjust to a new style of riding.

The targets for the future are to continue that learning curve and to try and remain focused on consistency. If he remains as consistent as this, then he has the chance to end the season in the top ten for sure, but it's a step by step process which he is doing admirably.
11. Q:
Monday's post-race test at Estoril was rained off, do you think there should be more official tests during the season?

Phil Baker:
I think that testing should be confined to all bikes at one particular track and not have private tests for each manufacturer and their riders. I think it makes it more fair to have everyone at the same track at the same time, but given the intensity of the schedule, I think testing should be limited and other than on one or two occasions, be left to out of season.
12. Q:
Marc Marquez is expected to follow in Stefan Bradl's footsteps by moving from Moto2 to MotoGP next year. Do you agree with the 'no rookies in a factory team' rule?

Phil Baker:
It is a rule that was implemented a while ago and one that I think should now remain.

It would be unfair on those from before if Marquez were allowed to step up into the HRC factory team in year one, but here strikes a dilemma: He has strong support from Repsol, so will Repsol divide their allegiance to two teams, or will they drop Marquez if he is not on the factory bike?

For sure, he will step up and is expected to reign in the future, but where he starts his GP career will be interesting to see.
13. Q:
Have you heard any more on the 2013 rule discussions?

Phil Baker:
It looks like the factory prototypes will remain in place for next year with the CRTs still involved and expected to evolve into the whole championship from 2015. Again, it's early days and changes will no doubt be made as we progress through this year.

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