Pierfransesco Chili wants a Honda Fireblade for 2005. But the PSG-1 team has signed to switch from customer Ducati machinery to factory supported Kawasakis for next season - without apparently consulting Chili - promoting the WSBK legend to leave the team he helped found.
In 2004, Chili embarrassed the factory Ducati 999s on regular occasions, riding modified 998 machinery, after early attempts to find a comfortable set-up for his own customer spec 999 proved impossible. That, together with Chris Vermeulen's four wins in his and the Fireblade's debut WSBK season, has prompted Chili to believe that a CBR1000RR is the bike to be.
The strength of Frankie's belief was proven when PSG-1 Kawasaki announced a non-Chili 2005 line-up consisting of former FPR rider Chris Walker and Italian Superbike champion Mauro Sanchini. To date, Chili remains un-signed, so what are his options?
During a recent interview with Crash.net
, Renegade boss Mark Griffiths suggested that he was looking to run Hondas next season if he could get the support he would need from the Japanese manufacturer.
One way to do this would be to have a signed Honda rider introduced into the championship from outside of World Superbikes. Griffiths hinted that he was looking at the AMA for one particular rider. This such rider, although unconfirmed, could be Ben Bostrom.
If Griffiths were able to attract Bostrom and Honda to his Renegade team, this would provide Chili with a very good base to launch his attack on the championship as the American's team-mate.
Another possibility for Chili could be the expected graduation of Klaffi Honda from World Supersport to the Superbike class. Klaffi have yet to officially confirm their plans, but have already lost Sebastian Charpentier to the rival Ten Kate Honda WSS team, suggesting that a change of class could be on the cards.
But Chili can be a formidable force when he puts his mind to something and, should other Honda options come to nothing, its far from unthinkable that the emotional Italian could set-up his own Fireblade WSBK squad for 2005.