Friday Morning Update - Suzuki's Davide Brivio to Dorna's Simon Crafar: "It's no secret we are working to finalise the deal with Mir".

Joan Mir and manager Paco Sanchez insist that reports the young Spanish rider has signed for Suzuki in MotoGP next season are premature.

Despite Andrea Iannone today confirming he will leave Suzuki, Sanchez insists rival factory offers remain on the table from Honda and Ducati.

A final decision on Mir's future is expected before the next round at Catalunya.

"I know my manager is talking a lot with factory teams, but I don’t have anything signed and hope to close this as soon as possible," Mir said.

"I think, I hope, we can finalise during this weekend. Maximum, before the Catalunya GP," Sanchez added.

"My objective was to have everything done before Mugello but finally it's not easy to close these kinds of contracts.

"Some Spanish journalists announced this week that it is done. Some said it is signed. This is completely false. Absolutely it is not signed. A contract at 1% or 99% [until signed] is the same, zero. It does not exist.

"So we need to wait until we have the signature and after that we will announce."

MotoGP 2019 - Stay or Go?

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Sanchez refused to say which factory they are closest to concluding a deal with, but did reveal:

"After the report that Joan had reached an agreement with Suzuki, three hours later I received a new offer from Honda. And the next day a call from Ducati. Because it was not done. Nobody can say it's signed."

Describing the Suzuki story - and earlier reports that Mir had a pre-contract with Honda - "as a bet that has a 33% chance of being correct", Sanchez also spoke of how such stories can cause a chain reaction in the rider market.

"I'm talking with three factories, but these three factories are each talking with four-five riders. Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Iannone, Petrucci… really experienced and good riders.

"Everybody is waiting and if any factory understands I have signed a contract with another factory, they will close [a deal] immediately with the second rider on their list - if Joan is the first on their list.

"They also have a second, a third choice. So if they realise 'Joan has signed with Suzuki' then they will go close [the deal] with the second one and later if I don't close [the deal] with Suzuki I'm in the shit because one bike has disappeared."

Instead, Sanchez maintains that "we have had a proposal from Ducati, Honda and Suzuki" - and that the Ducati offer is not for Pramac, but the factory team.

In other words, as team-mate to Andrea Dovizioso in the seat currently occupied by Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo is now being linked to a satellite Yamaha seat for 2019.

"Ducati contacted us at the start of the season and they offered a bike with a Ducati contract but in the Pramac team," Sanchez said.

"Paolo Campinoti [Pramac] is a good friend of mine because I worked with him in the past when Luis D'Antin had the team.

"He called me and said, 'you can sign with the Ducati factory and be in our team'.

"It's not so bad. But I told him. 'Paolo, my expectation is to sign a factory bike for Joan. So I'm sorry…' And he told me, 'Okay, but in that case we will [sign] Pecco Bagnaia'.

"It was a risk for me [to turn down Pramac], but I assumed the risk because I had been talking with other factories for many months before. This is not work that began in the last week. It's work that you start before the end of last season…

"Also at Le Mans, I received a call from Paolo Ciabatti and Gigi Dall’Igna and first of all I told them, 'I know the programme with Pramac because Paolo offered it to me three-four months ago'.

"And they said, 'No, we want to talk about the factory team, not Pramac'. So the situation [now] is with the factory team."

Sanchez - also manager of Maverick Vinales - feels there is too much risk in joining a satellite team, citing the past example of Pol Espargaro at Tech3 Yamaha and reigning Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli at Marc VDS Honda.

"You can see now Morbidelli, he won the Moto2 title last year and is a really good rider for MotoGP also, but it's so difficult to show his potential. And now Joan can maybe [get a factory ride] over him even before he has won a title in Moto2. Why? This is the market…

"More-or-less all the top riders have gone directly into a factory team. Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Marquez, Rossi - it was like an official team - and have been successful and are still here after many years.

"I don't promise to anybody that Joan will be the next world champion. But I think, and all the team managers think, that he is a special rider."

He continued: "We are not worried about money. The most important thing is to have the best atmosphere. The best package.

"And again, I've never taken the decision for a rider in my life. They decide. Sometimes I advise, 'to me, this is the best team', and they chose another. Which I accept."

While paddock rumours still say Mir to Suzuki is most likely, the reigning Moto3 champion said a place at Repsol Honda alongside Marc Marquez would be "like a dream".

Sanchez also highlighted how much Mir could learn as team-mate to the reigning world champion.

"I think you could grow up next to the best rider at the moment. You could learn a lot and you don't have any pressure to beat Marc.

"Maybe in another team, where the other rider is Alex Rins or Dovizioso, who are experienced but not considered at Marquez's level, you have the opportunity to try to beat your team-mate more quickly.

"But in Repsol for sure it's completely different. And maybe in two years - this is complete speculation - Marc wins two-three more titles and then wants a new challenge with KTM, Yamaha or Ducati…"

 

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