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January 11th, 2016, 10:58 AM   #1
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Honda hints at unchanged rider line-up for 2017

Honda hints at unchanged rider line-up for 2017

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HRC vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto has hinted that the Repsol Honda MotoGP team will stick with an unchanged rider line-up for the 2017 season.

The Japanese factory has run Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa for the last three seasons, and both Spaniards’ contracts are up for renewal at the end of 2016.

Pedrosa’s uncertain form in the first half of last season, which was interrupted by a forearm operation, had led to speculation that Honda could seek a replacement for 2017.

But his results improved late in the year once he had recovered, the 30-year-old taking wins at Japan and Malaysia, and Nakamoto hinted that he and Marquez will both be retained for at least another season.

“In the second half of the year [Pedrosa] was very strong, with two wins,” the Japanese told Marca. “Some fans criticised him, but Dani is a fast rider.

“Marc and Dani, our line-up for 2016, is the best combination to me. As their contracts finish this year we have to talk about a renewal.

“We haven't done it yet, but I think we'll be able to announce it halfway through the season.”
Marquez still "number one"

Nakamoto added he believes that Marquez is still the best MotoGP rider in the field on pure pace despite his difficulties last season, when the two-time champion registered five DNFs due to crashes.

“Marc couldn't fight for the championship last year, but from a speed point of view he is the number one,” said Nakamoto. “Had he finished those races, he would have been champion.

"He always tries to win every race, but now he knows that winning the championship is much more important.

“Marc is still a very young kid, he needs more experience and I think last year's result have helped him understand this.”
Guess that Vinales to HRC move wasn't as forgone a conclusion at the moment.

Probably easier to have MM as a defined #1 with Dani on the other bike. If Vinales comes there, it's not as easy to do this. Plus losing Stoner as a test rider probably hurt HRC more than they will admit. MM isn't at the point where he can develop, and bringing in Vinales would mean you'd have two guys who won't be able to develop.
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January 11th, 2016, 11:43 AM   #2
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Seems the best approach Nakamoto and HRC can take. Coming out with these comments takes pressure off Pedrosa and allows time to see if he can continue the pace with which he finished last season. Also keeps the option of changing the lineup if the pace or fitness aren't there.
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January 11th, 2016, 11:45 AM   #3
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I don't think it's a development issue as much as perhaps they don't want to deal with two kids who'd probably kill eachother out on track. Or end up having a bitch fight. I also wonder if Santi & Alzamora have any influence on this. I'm sure they don't want a fast kid with as much ambition as Marquez in the same garage.

When Viñalez had his hissy fit in Moto3 it eliminated me from rooting for the lad. I don't have much tolerance for self entitlement. But so far I haven't seen him act the fool yet in GP.

Viñalez to take VR's seat. Or take Lorenzo's if Rossi has his way. Either way he will end up on a factory Yamaha or Honda at some point.
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January 11th, 2016, 12:57 PM   #4
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I don't think it's a development issue as much as perhaps they don't want to deal with two kids who'd probably kill eachother out on track. Or end up having a bitch fight. I also wonder if Santi & Alzamora have any influence on this. I'm sure they don't want a fast kid with as much ambition as Marquez in the same garage.

When Viñalez had his hissy fit in Moto3 it eliminated me from rooting for the lad. I don't have much tolerance for self entitlement. But so far I haven't seen him act the fool yet in GP.

Viñalez to take VR's seat. Or take Lorenzo's if Rossi has his way. Either way he will end up on a factory Yamaha or Honda at some point.
I feel like it's got to be a combination of both development and the oil/water mix those two would bring to the team.

If you took Dani away, who is really going to develop the RCV? 2015 doesn't give me a lot of confidence in MM's ability to develop a bike since it turned into a hodgepodge of 2014 and 2015 parts. I would love to know what the breakdown of parts from each season turned out to be ultimately in the second half of the season.

Good point about Vinales to Yamaha. I feel less certain about what Lorenzo's future there is, especially after the way 2015 ended. I'm sure if VR has his way, JL will be out of the team.
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January 11th, 2016, 02:16 PM   #5
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Don't think Rossi will get his way on that. Yamaha have already backed Lorenzo once and must know he is the more likely to bring long term success.
They must also be aware that there is nowhere else for Rossi to go apart from retire so he can have as many complaints about his team colleague as he wants but it doesn't really matter.
Getting rid of Lorenzo and replacing him with Vinales doesn't make sense as very soon Yamaha could find themselves in the same situation that Honda look to avoid.
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January 11th, 2016, 02:21 PM   #6
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be interesting to see where Yamaha go with that, we will see if they wanna win more races with JL or sell more motorbikes with VR.

On Honda yeah it makes sense to keep Dani for Dev, clearly Marquez age and relative inexperience won't help with development... BUt don't see him as a Dev rider anyway, he won his first 2 titles and probably doesnt really know how he did it.
Pedrosa can certainly drive progress, Stoner and Marquez have both jumped on bikes Dani had much input in and rode them to 3 titles in 4 years. So for that reason and also as they seem (far as I know) to get on pretty ok it makes sense too maintain for a while as long as Dani is being a good team mate, which he usually is... Nicky may disagree!
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January 11th, 2016, 11:53 PM   #7
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At the end of the day I think Honda will just take Dani on a year-by-year basis if they continue. At the end of the day as long as he continues riding like he did the second half of 2015, there is no need to replace him.
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January 12th, 2016, 01:45 AM   #8
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At the end of the day I think Honda will just take Dani on a year-by-year basis if they continue. At the end of the day as long as he continues riding like he did the second half of 2015, there is no need to replace him.
Exactly....and he is the one only rider that been giving HRC the consistent good development direction for the last 10 years.....as soon HRC listened to MM the bike started going the wrong way....

I would be surprised if Dani isnt much sought after by KTM for 2017 by making him an offer that HRC would unwilling to match....

Regarding Yamaha, depends on how Jorge gets on with the Michelins in the first third of the season....if he struggles then and Ducati come a calling with a big number then Jorge will be more than tempted to jump ship.....
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January 12th, 2016, 02:31 PM   #9
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Exactly....and he is the one only rider that been giving HRC the consistent good development direction for the last 10 years.....as soon HRC listened to MM the bike started going the wrong way....

I would be surprised if Dani isnt much sought after by KTM for 2017 by making him an offer that HRC would unwilling to match....


Regarding Yamaha, depends on how Jorge gets on with the Michelins in the first third of the season....if he struggles then and Ducati come a calling with a big number then Jorge will be more than tempted to jump ship.....
Interesting idea. You really think KTM has that kind of dough?
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January 12th, 2016, 04:38 PM   #10
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Interesting idea. You really think KTM has that kind of dough?
Dani really isnt making that much with Honda. They had him over a barrel last contract and he signed for considerably less than he had made before. Around 3 mil is what I've heard compared to around 4.5 to 5 mil in the past.
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