Ben Spies close to Honda MotoGP switch

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Ben Spies is mulling over a Honda contract for 2009, with Andrea Dovizioso’s JIR squad leading contenders to sign the reigning American superbike champion.

Dovizioso is understood to have finally signed a deal to replace Nicky Hayden in Honda’s official factory team next season last Saturday in Misano, and his JIR squad is now considering five options to replace the departing Italian.

JIR boss Gianluca Montiron insists he will be on the grid in 2009 Montiron, despite his imminent split from current partner Scot, who merged with his JIR team for this season.

There have been rumours that the Honda RC212V will be leased to Scot for Japanese 250 rider Yuki Takahashi, while Montiron has been linked with running Max Biaggi in Aprilia’s World Superbike team.

Montiron though is adamant he will be in MotoGP next season, and has made offers to Spies, Sete Gibernau, Alex de Angelis, Alvaro Bautista and Mika Kallio. Bautista though confirmed he is staying in the 250GP class next year, while Finn Kallio is close to a deal with the Alice Ducati squad.

Spies though is Montiron’s preferred option, and he claims a deal is close to being finalised, even though Spies has been linked with Ducati’s factory World Superbike team as replacement for world champion elect Troy Bayliss.

“The situation is very clear now with Nicky switching to Ducati and probably Andrea will replace him at HRC.

"Ben is one of the options that I have and already I have agreed the main points with him. We have made good negotiations with him and I can decide to take him for next year if I want. I have made Ben an official offer and we have already agreed terms, “said Montiron, who is understood to have first option on Spies for two more weeks.

Spies has also been locked in negotiations with the Gresini Honda squad.
Commenting on speculation about his own future, Montiron added: “I have everything in place, the contract with Honda I will carry on.

"There is an agreement with Dorna and HRC that they try and keep the existing teams and I have written confirmation from HRC for the machine.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt