Honda has finally confirmed that it will run a three-rider factory Honda team in 2011, with Andrea Dovizioso retained alongside Dani Pedrosa and new signing Casey Stoner.
Dovizioso's place had been put at risk by the arrival of Stoner from Ducati. HRC had always hoped to run three factory riders, but the question of funding looked set to force Dovizioso to switch back to a satellite RCV outfit in his fourth MotoGP season.
But Dovi's management insisted he had met all the requirements in his contract for a factory bike in a factory team next season, and Honda has now confirmed that will be the case.
Furthermore, Dovizioso will continue to be backed by Spanish petrol giants Repsol, who confirmed they will not only increase its sponsorship for the three-man team, but agree an extension with HRC for the next two years.
“We are delighted to announce that our valued partners at Repsol will once again join us in our quest for the MotoGP World Championship next year,” proclaimed HRC president Tetsuo Suzuki. “Honda's partnership with Repsol has been long and successful and we are very proud to be together again for this challenge into the future.
“We are also very pleased to expand the Repsol Honda Team to once again include three riders next year. Our current riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will be joined by Casey Stoner, all racing in Repsol Honda colours to form a truly formidable line-up that we believe can fight for victory at every race and achieve our joint goals: recapturing all three MotoGP World Championship titles.”
Dovizioso, the 2008 rookie of the year with JiR Team Scot and a race winner for Repsol in 2009, began this year strongly, outpacing Pedrosa in many of the opening rounds.
The Italian later lost ground relative to Pedrosa, but has been strong again at the end of the season and finished fifth n the standings.
Dovizioso, a former 125cc world champion, has been a Honda rider throughout his grand prix career.