On the eve of becoming the most experienced MotoGP rider of all-time at this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix, Loris Capirossi looks set to receive an appropriate reward in the shape of a new Suzuki contract for 2009.
Although rumours that Capirossi was on the verge of penning a deal with the Rizla team had been rife for some weeks, team manager Paul Denning has duly confirmed that it will indeed happen 'barring any disasters'.
Set to make his 277th start at Misano, Capirossi's considerable experience, but continued youthful exuberance, have helped Suzuki forge their way up the order over the past few races, culminating in the Italian's third place finish at Brno.
As such, an official announcement beyond what was revealed in the pre-event press conference is apparently imminent.
“Suzuki and Loris should, barring any disaster, be together next year,” he said, according to the official MotoGP website. “That's pretty much everybody's intention. We can't make any official announcement until the paperwork is processed by Loris´ people and by Suzuki´s people, but as soon as that takes place we will make a formal statement.”
With Capirossi set to occupy one seat, attention now turns to who will join him. Current rider Chris Vermeulen is very much the favourite to retain his place following his recent upturn in form and, as Denning reveals, negotiations are currently taking place.
“We are still talking with Chris, although we haven't come to an agreement yet. We have further talks with his management this weekend regarding working together in the future. We're very proud to have Chris riding for us, and would be happy to continue with him, but we're still working on that at the moment.”
Interestingly, Denning went on to hint at the possibility of a third bike – most probably for Ben Spies – at selected events, but added the team are keen to concentrate on a two-bike structure for the moment.