Randy de Puniet has signed a two-year contract to join Lucio Cecchinello’s satellite Honda MotoGP squad for 2008.
The French rider leaves Kawasaki’s factory team after a two-year spell to be reunited with Italian team boss Lucio Cecchinello, who he raced for in 2003 and 2004 in 250 MotoGPs.
It was hotly-rumoured last weekend in Brno that Randy de Puniet was close to joining LCR, with current rider Carlos Checa looking at a move to replace British rider James Toseland in the Ten Kate Honda World Superbike squad.
When Randy de Puniet previously raced under the LCR banner, he won four 250 MotoGPs and claimed seven pole positions.
He joins LCR with Cecchinello missing out on his number one target Andrea Dovizioso.
The 26-year-old was reluctant to wait for an answer on his future from Kawasaki, with Japanese bosses to decide on a second rider to partner John Hopkins on the Tuesday after the Misano MotoGP round early next month.
His move to LCR now appears to only leave Anthony West and Shinya Nakano as contenders to partner Hopkins on a factory ZX-RR next season.
Shinya Nakano is back in negotiation with Kawasaki about a shock return with his place in the Konica Minolta Honda squad looking certain to be claimed by Andrea Dovizioso.