LCR Honda close to new 2011 deal

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Randy de Puniet’s LCR Honda squad is close to finalising an agreement with HRC to lease an RC212V machine for next year’s MotoGP world championship.

Italian team boss Lucio Cecchinello has been locked in talks with Honda about extending his lease deal that stretches back to 2006 when the LCR squad moved to MotoGP to give Casey Stoner his big premier class break.

And now Cecchinello is close to confirming another deal with Honda for the final 800cc MotoGP campaign.

He said: “They’ve already told me they wish to continue. Nothing is signed but I wish to continue with them. At this moment they will continue with the same philosophy, which is the satellite bike at the beginning of the season will be very similar to the factory bike.

"But as soon as winter testing starts and the first races start the factory bike will continue to be developed, particularly in the chassis area. As well as this year as they are doing with us, they will give to the best independent rider the best material.

"If I look at our bike today and the bike of (Andrea) Dovizioso and (Dani) Pedrosa, there is not a huge difference. Some different fairing and air intake but we don’t have a bike that runs one second slower.”

LCR was given chassis and electronics upgrades recently as a reward for de Puniet’s brilliant opening half of 2010.

The Frenchman has not yet signed a deal with LCR having been strongly linked with Suzuki’s factory squad. Cecchinello hopes to have finalised an offer for the 29-year-old by the Misano round early next month.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt