Sepang MotoGP: Honda to crush Max Biaggi’s MotoGP return

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Honda is expected to announce tomorrow (Saturday) in Sepang that it will block a move by Fausto Gresini to lure controversial Italian Max Biaggi back into the MotoGP world championship in 2008.

Gresini confirmed yesterday in Sepang that he had made an approach for the Roman, who parted company with the Alstare Suzuki World Superbike squad earlier this week.

Biaggi left MotoGP in acrimonious circumstances back in 2005 when Honda’s official factory team unceremoniously dumped him after a disastrous campaign. Honda management then vetoed a move by Biaggi to join Sito Pons’ Camel-backed satellite squad, a move that left the four-times world 250 champion without a ride in 2006.

Biaggi’s return to MotoGP would complete a dramatic U-turn by HRC bosses who had refused point-blank to continue working with him at the end of 2005.

Gresini spoke to Biaggi earlier this week and was hopeful of meeting him to further discuss plans to ride an RC212V 800 machine when back in Europe next week.

Gresini has already signed Alex de Angelis as replacement for Ducati bound Marco Melandri, while the future of Spaniard Toni Elias remains shrouded in mystery.

Elias seems certain to join the D’Antin Ducati squad, which had opened up the door for Japanese rider Shinya Nakano in the Gresini team. HRC is keen to have a Japanese rider on board and also wants to see Nakano back on Bridgestone tyres after a nightmare 2007 on Michelin rubber.

Nakano had hoped to use Konica Minolta money to help him secure a Gresini berth, but the Japanese company recently confirmed it would withdraw from the series after a fruitless three years with Gianluca Montiron’s JIR Racing squad.

Montiron’s current team will merge with the Kopron Scot 250 outfit to field former world 125 champion Andrea Dovizioso next season.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt