Rossi in contract dispute with Honda
Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi's future with Honda has been thrown into doubt in a contract dispute with Japanese bosses.
The world's number one rider and the world's biggest manufacturer are in a dispute over "small points" in his contract. The contract was agreed in principle before Christmas.
Rossi and his advisors met with three senior Honda bosses in Rome on Tuesday with the Japanese officials expecting the meeting to be a formality.
Key points of the contract, including his fee, had already been resolved. But he is unhappy with some minor details and talks have stalled leaving Rossi's future in doubt.
HRC bosses have confirmed a further meeting will take place in Italy next week to try to resolve the issue.
Rossi himself is refusing to comment beyond saying: " This is a very bad situation. "
Sources in Italy suggest the dispute is over the commercial use of Rossi’s name.
The impact of the row is already being felt with Rossi now not flying to next week's RCV test in Sepang. Because his 2001 contract expired in December, Rossi now has no official contract and therefore no insurance cover for testing.
Honda Europe's Racing boss and a close confidante of Rossi's, Carlo Fiorani said: " I am sure common sense will prevail. It is not an impossible situation to work out and I am not concerned that he will leave Honda. "
An insider admitted that bosses were "monitoring the situation."
Keep checking back regularly. We’ll bring you updates as this story develops.