Phil Baker worked with MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden
(2004-10) and race winner Chris Vermeulen
(2007-10) before setting up his own company, SA 1 Management.
The US-based Brit then managed Factory Yamaha MotoGP star Ben Spies and now works with reigning Moto2 world champion Stefan Bradl, who stepped up to MotoGP this season with LCR Honda.
Got a question for Phil? Post your questions for the next installment of Baker's Dozen
within the comments section below...
The main news at Laguna Seca was Ben Spies announcing he will leave Yamaha and Valentino Rossi
possibly returning to take his place. How do you read the situation?
The news of Spies leaving so close to the USGP came as a complete surprise to nearly everyone. Ben clearly felt it was the right time to make this decision and I wish him well in whatever he decides to do. Seeing Vale back on the Yamaha is what nearly all his fans want to see, so bring it on!
What can Ducati do to convince Rossi to stay?
Right now, I think that Valentino's goal is to beat Agostini's [all time race wins] record and he will go wherever he feels he has the best chance of doing that. To see him fighting at the front with Jorge next year will be a big coup commercially for the championship and no doubt comes with the full backing of Dorna and everyone involved in the championship.
How big a risk would it be for Yamaha to have Rossi back?
They have little to lose. Yamaha are in the championship to win it and you need consistent riders to do that. They have not had a title sponsor since Valentino left, and I am sure that his inclusion will increase their chances of filling this void. Having one rider at the front and the other way down the order won't win you the manufacturers' championship, so I personally believe that this is a good move for the brand.
If Rossi does leave, who do you think should take his place at Ducati?
I would love to see Cal [Crutchlow] on the red team. I believe his riding style would suit the bike and that he would fit in well to the Ducati way of thinking. Of course there is the fact that Andrea [Dovizioso] has the right coloured passport and there are few nations more patriotic than Italy. Time will tell, but I expect that by Brno [August 17-19], we will have a clear picture of where everyone will be placed.
One factory Ducati ride has already been decided, with Nicky Hayden
signing a further contract extension. Good Move?
Totally. You need to keep a level of familiarity within a team and Nicky's efforts for the team over the last four years have deservedly given him another year on a factory bike. The rider who partners Nicky next year will have the chance to learn a lot from him.