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Simoncelli secures official Honda deal

The Italian will stay in the same team for 2012 and once again get the chance to compete on the same machinery as the top-line Repsol riders.
Honda has confirmed that Marco Simoncelli will ride a factory-specification RC213V in 2012 after inking a new factory contract with its young protégé.

Simoncelli has been the subject of much discussion in recent months concerning whether he will receive the factory iteration of the forthcoming 1000cc Honda, with rumours suggesting the manufacturer's downsizing would limit the bike to its two official Repsol riders.

Nonetheless, Honda has not only confirmed it will supply Simoncelli with the RC213V, on which he will once again compete in San Carlo Gresini colours, but that it has also offered him a factory contract and full technical backing.

“To be wearing the colours of Team San Carlo Honda Gresini for another year and riding a Honda RC213V gives me a lot of satisfaction,” he said. “To be kept on as part of project that Honda HRC are so supportive of in collaboration with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini gives me a lot of confidence and all the motivation I need to show that I can be amongst the best in MotoGP again. 2012 will be an important season for me and I want to give all those people who have believed in this project plenty to get excited about.”

Simoncelli joined the premier motorcycling category in 2010 as a Gresini rider and has since established himself as a frequent front runner aboard the factory-specification RC212V, peaking with his podium at Brno and pole positions in Barcelona and at Assen.

Though high-profile crashes prompted him to receive a 'fast, but error-prone' reputation in the early stages of the season, a recent run of good results has moved him up to eighth overall.

“I am really happy to announce that Marco will be back with Team San Carlo Honda Gresini in 2012, added team manager Fausto Gresini. “Over the past two years together we have been able to appreciate Marco's qualities as a rider, as a man and as an extroverted communicator, which made us keen to continue our collaboration.

“Obviously in order to make this possible we needed a lot of effort from our sponsors, who have shown such belief in this project and I am grateful to them. HRC are going to offer a general level of support that will be very important as well as making a factory RC213V factory available to Marco.

“All this gives us great pride and is a testament to the close relationship we have built with the Japanese factory over fifteen fruitful years of partnership. Marco's huge determination will give us all a lot of motivation ahead of what promises to be an exciting new season.”

Simoncelli's appointment means Andrea Dovizioso is unlikely to receive a latest-specification Honda for 2012, despite being third in the current standings. The Italian has been heavily-linked to Tech 3 Yamaha and Rizla Suzuki, should the latter continue in MotoGP.

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Ros Simoncelli - Unregistered

September 27, 2011 4:24 PM

Little confused as to what this means for the Satellite Hondas. Does this mean they will be forced to race with this years 800 next year? Either way I feel a little sorry for Dovi. True, he hasn't had the outright pace of Casey or Dani but he's delivered consistent results for HRC only to find himself out of contract. Now to add insult to injury his foe, who has not delivered anywhere near as much as Dovi in the races when it matters, gets full factory support for next year. This is Marco's sink or swim year. Casey won the championship in his second year, Dani challenged for it in his first. Marco in his 3rd season is likely to still be chasing that first win despite the factory support. I'm not convinced Marco is of the same calibre as Casey and Dani.


September 27, 2011 4:35 PM

Amongst all the errors I think he's shown enough flair and pace to warrant a factory 1000 for next year. But 2012 is probably his last shot on a works Honda unless he puts it all together and delivers on that potential. Another year like this one and he'll find himself back to satellite status again. This is his big chance to prove himself.

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