Tech 3 Yamaha is close to announcing that it has signed Andrea Dovizioso for the 2012 MotoGP World Championship season, according to several reports.
Dovizioso's future has been the subject of speculation in recent months after Honda confirmed it was slimming down its MotoGP efforts for 2012, reducing its current premier Repsol line-up from three to two riders.
With Honda retaining Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa in their current roles, Dovizioso had hoped to secure a full factory-backed 1000cc Honda for next season in a satellite capacity. However, though he was reportedly offered a ride with LCR Honda, Dovizioso has signalled his displeasure that Honda gave first priority to his countryman Marco Simoncelli before arranging his deal, despite Dovizioso being third in the standings.
As such, GPOne.com
are reporting that Dovizioso has instead accepted a single-year deal with Yamaha's satellite operation with a view to progressing in an alternative direction for 2013, particularly as both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies's contracts will be up for renewal.
Set to join Cal Crutchlow in the team, Dovizioso's proposed move to Yamaha would end his lengthy tenure as a Honda rider, one that stretches back to 2002 when he made his full-time GP debut in the 125cc class. Since then, Dovizioso has won the 125cc crown and finished runner-up in the 250cc class, while he also won his first – and currently only - MotoGP race in 2009 at Donington Park.
Should Dovizioso be confirmed at Tech 3 Yamaha, LCR Honda are set to pursue Randy de Puniet or John Hopkins for 2012.