Tetsuo Suzuki, the new HRC president and managing director of Honda R&D, caused a stir when he met with the MotoGP media for the first time at this weekend's Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.
During a press conference at Brno on Friday, Suzuki announced that a 'basic agreement' had been reached with both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso to continue riding in the factory Honda squad for the next two years.
Most assumed that some kind of formal agreement must thus be in place, but both riders appeared surprised by the news - Pedrosa later confirming that negotiations are continuing and that “nothing is yet signed”.
A press release clarifying exactly what Tetsuo Suzuki said has now been sent out by Honda:
“First, I must thank everyone for coming to our press conference. For many of you, I assume this is the first time that we meet, so I would like to explain my duty very briefly. I was appointed to be the HRC president on June 1st this year. I am also responsible for the management of Motorcycle R&D where we develop production models. When talking about my relation to “racing”, I worked as the Project Leader of the VTR1000SPW in 2000 which was developed to be a racing machine for World Superbikes and the Suzuka 8 Hours race. Now, I am involved to racing from a different standpoint and I am feeling positive, and also excited at the same time. From now on, we will have more occasions to meet at the circuits, and I look forward to meeting you more often.
“I'm delighted to be able to announce that we have come to a basic agreement with our riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso for the next two years. I understand that to announce this in August is much earlier compared to past years. Though there are still some details of the contracts to finalise, we are making this announcement now so that the riders and the team can remain fully concentrated on our joint goals: to win races and recapture the MotoGP World Championship. We are convinced these riders have the armoury required to win this ultimate prize.
“Dani and Andrea are highly motivated, and I believe they will strive in the last half of this season to get positive results. Both riders have been with Honda since their days in the 125cc class, and HRC will give our every effort to develop highly competitive machines for these two riders who possess the highest potential.”
Suzuki also said Honda now had “no plans” to run Jorge Lorenzo.