Reigning world 250GP champion Marco Simoncelli is on the brink of signing a lucrative deal to ride a factory-supported Honda RC212V in the 2010 MotoGP series.
Speaking to MCN, Simoncelli’s manager Carlo Pernat denied intense speculation during last weekend’s Catalunya GP that a deal had already been signed. MCN though understands the 22-year-old has signed a two-year contract direct with HRC with an option for 2012, but he will ride for Fausto Gresini’s satellite squad next season.
But while admitting a deal is close to being clinched with Honda, Pernat told MCN that only Honda and Yamaha were now left in contention, having ruled out Suzuki and Ducati. “Marco decides between Honda and Yamaha. He has two good offers. One is with Tech 3 and it is a good offer because as well as speaking with Herve Poncharal, senior Yamaha management like Masao Furusawa and Lin Jarvis have also been involved.
"The Yamaha is a bike Marco likes a lot but on the other side is HRC, who have made an offer for an official factory bike," said Pernat.
Simoncelli believes his chances of progressing through the Yamaha ranks quickly will be restricted by Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. But at Honda he could move into the factory team in 2011 with the long-term future of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso unclear.
Pernat added: “Honestly, we are closer with Honda and Yamaha but he will decide before in Assen."