Phil Baker has represented MotoGP riders Nicky Hayden, Chris Vermeulen, Ben Spies and Stefan Bradl.

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

1. Q:
Valentino Rossi's Yamaha return was confirmed just before Indianapolis, what do you think it means for both Rossi and the sport?

Phil Baker:
This is the best news that the sport could have hoped for. Valentino has returned to the manufacturer where he has had most of his success and has the main goal of trying to beat Agostini's record number of wins.

If it were a question of money, he would still be riding for Ducati next year, but Vale needs to win and needs to be near the front. His decision to return to the Yamaha team is a bold statement and one that I think everyone in the grandstands relishes.
2. Q:
Are you surprised that Jorge Lorenzo agreed to have Rossi back?

Phil Baker:
No, not at all. Jorge is full of confidence and has been reassured by Yamaha that he is the rider they are looking at for winning the championship title. He is so settled at Yamaha and his consistent results prove that. Jorge's main concern is probably more about Honda and Pedrosa than Valentino's return right now. I still have him down as favourite to win the championship at the end of the year.
3. Q:
It's a difficult time for Ducati, how do they turn things around after the last two years?

Phil Baker:
Ducati are a great team of people who are very passionate about their brand. The structure has now changed with their new owners looking over their shoulders. Looking at how successful Audi have been in nearly every form of motorsport they have turned to, I expect that they will be able to assist the boys from Bologna considerably and it won't be long until we see Ducatis fighting for podiums on a regular basis once more.
4. Q:
Is Andrea Dovizioso the right choice to replace Rossi?

Phil Baker:
Only time will tell. To me it is a shame that Cal didn't get that ride as I believe that he has not only the skill, but also the right mentality to overcome their current shortfalls. Andrea is consistent, but he is definitely entering the Lion's den and we will see if his strength of character will fit in!
5. Q:
Cal Crutchlow has re-signed for Tech 3 - a good decision?

Phil Baker:
Definitely a good decision for Tech 3 and Yamaha. Cal will continue to improve and, I believe, show Ducati what they are missing next year. Good for Herve Poncharal and his team though and I see plenty more podiums to come.
6. Q:
The factory rides at Honda, Yamaha and Ducati are all fixed until the end of 2014, with the exception of Nicky Hayden who has a one-year deal at Ducati. That means the likes of Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl will probably have to wait until 2015 for the chance to join a factory team...

Phil Baker:
Not necessarily. It depends how Nicky does next year and also depends on how their junior team perform.
7. Q:
Casey Stoner's ankle injuries have ruled him out of the championship fight, how do you see the Lorenzo-Pedrosa battle with six rounds to go?

Phil Baker:
I love Jorge's work ethic and the way that he copes under pressure and would like to see him lift the crown once more. Dani has nothing to lose and has the best chance yet of winning the championship, but it really depends how he copes with the pressure as well.

We are going to be going to some interesting tracks where I would say Jorge is favourite at Misano, but then Dani and Honda have the upper hand at Motegi, Sepang and Valencia. Phillip Island and Aragon are too close to call.
8. Q:
How significant was Pedrosa's Brno win and the manner that he achieved it, fighting to the last turn?

Phil Baker:
This was huge for Dani. He proved that he can and will fight to the end and he never gave up. He rode a brilliant race and in the end he got the better of Jorge. It must have done his confidence the power of good.
9. Q:
Stefan was rumoured to be in consideration to replace Stoner at Repsol Honda until he is fit to return. Was that ever discussed?

Phil Baker:
To move him to the factory team when he is so settled in his first year at LCR would have been a mistake in my view. He has momentum and to disrupt that mid-season would have been a mistake. Giving Johnny [Rea] a chance is a good move and well overdue.
10. Q:
Audi, new owners of Ducati, are said to be following Stefan's progress closely. Has there been any contact?

Phil Baker:
It's far too early to speculate on this and it would be inappropriate for me to comment.
11. Q:
Jonathan Rea will make his MotoGP debut in place of Stoner at Misano and then probably Aragon as well. How should he approach the opportunity and what will he need to do, on and off track, to stand the best chance of getting a full time MotoGP ride in the future?

Phil Baker:
He has already gone about it the right way by publicly thanking Honda for the chance and also impressing with some fast lap times. I think it goes to show that Honda has an exceptional package for him to be able to be just a second from similar bikes who have been riding it all year.

To continue to impress, he needs to be able to be competitive in practice and keep it upright, but more importantly, show how he can compete during the race and hopefully beat some of the satellite bikes.
12. Q:
Crutchlow hinted that he had received an offer from Suzuki. Have you heard any more regarding the factory's comeback?

Phil Baker:
Suzuki personnel were in Brno. Rumours abound that they will be back testing next year in preparation for a full entry in 2014. Again, this is just the rumour mill working overtime, and we can only hope that such rumours are true as the sport needs them back in as soon as possible.
13. Q:
An announcement looks imminent for the satellite Ducati rides, which would mean the only manufacturer ride still available for 2013 is at Gresini Honda. Who would you like to see on it?

Phil Baker:
I would love to see Scott Redding. I think he is a brilliant rider who, if given the chance, will show just how good he really is. The sport is in need of charismatic individuals and, knowing Scott and his character, he stands to be a superstar. Fingers are crossed!


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