Team Renegade Ducati have confirmed that Sean Emmett has signed a contract to join the team and will partner Michael Rutter in 2003.

The news ends weeks of speculation surrounding Emmett, who has been the high profile target of both Yamaha and Suzuki. However, Emmett had been having a series of private discussions since July with Renegade owner Mark Griffiths, and was determined to delay making his decision in case the magic call came from Renegade.

It duly arrived last Friday and having agreed terms during a series of phone calls and e-mails on Sunday evening, Emmett was flown up to Team Renegades' Cheshire base on Monday morning to sign his contract.

Commenting on his move, Emmet was naturally delighted to be joining the reigning Team Champions.

"This is a dream move for me and opportunities to join teams of the calibre of Renegade don't come along very often, so I had no hesitation," confirmed Emmett. "I had to keep my nerve in waiting a while for the team to finally say yes to me, but I have no doubts about my ability and I was confident that I would be invited to join the squad if I was patient."

Team owner Mark Griffiths is relishing the prospect of the Rutter / Emmett partnership.

"I think it's going to be dynamite!" beamed Griffiths. "Michael has been sensational for us this season and I expect him to take some beating next term. On the other hand, Sean proved his dogged, competitive nature in spectacular fashion during 2002, and his will to win is ferocious.

"If they can avoid injury, I think they'll be side by side everywhere we go, which is great for all of us watching and for the series in general. I am ordering 20 extra fairing sets as there is certain to be some paint swapping between them!"

It had been expected that the team would continue the Rutter and Byrne pairing next season. Both riders were offered new contracts as early as July.

But while Rutter immediately accepted, Byrne deliberated, and when Monstermob confirmed that they would not be renewing the contract of Steve Hislop, their attentions turned to Byrne.

However, Byrne confirmed to Griffiths yesterday that he had not signed a contract with the Monstermob outfit, and was unsure about the move.

"I have spoken to Shane regularly this week and I informed him on Sunday that I would be signing Sean as he was unable to commit to my team for next season," stated Griffiths. "He has a real dilemma in the sense that the package on offer from Monstermob is better than mine, but he enjoys the atmosphere within Renegade and is also concerned that he will not have a team mate to help him if he signs for Monstermob.

"I explained that I needed to ensure that I had two capable riders on our machines next season and because of his uncertainty, I was going ahead with the signing of Sean."

However, in a remarkable gesture of loyalty, Griffiths has also confirmed that if Byrne decides that he would like to remain with Team Renegade Ducati he will be permitted to do so, meaning that the team would operate all three riders on identical testastrettas.

The team is well underway with its plans for next season and will embark on a gruelling pre season testing programme, commencing in January.



Loading Comments...