It has been officially confirmed that reigning 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli will ride for Gresini Honda in the 2010 MotoGP World Championship.
During the Grand Prix of Catalunya it was rumoured that Simoncelli had signed an agreement with HRC that would see the Italian make his MotoGP debut with Gresini in 2010.
Those rumours were publically denied, but an announcement by the Gresini team on the eve of this weekend's Dutch TT confirmed the 22-year-old as the first new rider on the 2010 MotoGP grid.
A new rule prevents rookies riding for a factory MotoGP team, except Suzuki, but Simoncelli could still potentially enjoy factory HRC support and equipment within the Gresini structure.
Upon making the announcement, Fausto Gresini also revealed that San Carlo has signed a new title sponsorship agreement with his team.
“We're extremely happy to be able to make this important announcement: renewing our agreement with San Carlo, who have shown great belief in us and continue to support our targets for next year, and the agreement with Marco Simoncelli to race with us in MotoGP," began Gresini.
“Marco has that determination and character that we want from a rider as part of his DNA and we are sure we can look ahead to exciting times with him. Marco has shown over the past couple of years that he has the ability to be a major force in the premier class, as well as being a great communicator.”
It had been suggested that Simoncelli would sign directly for Honda and then be placed at Gresini by HRC, but Gresini's comments seemed to indicate that the team had taken the initiative.
“We have established a good feeling with [Marco] already and that facilitated negotiations over a contract that we have signed for 2010,” he said. “Also, Honda rates Simoncelli highly and believes he is a rider with great potential for the future, so Honda is very pleased that we are welcoming Simoncelli next season.