Dovizioso’s Honda contract saga drags on

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Andrea Dovizoso’s quest to remain a factory Honda rider next season could end up in a bitter courtroom wrangle.

MCN sources say lawyers could settle the Italian’s contract dispute with HRC unless an amicable outcome is found imminently.

Dovizioso has invoked a performance clause in his current deal that if he was top five in the standings at the end of July, he automatically secured a ride in Honda’s factory team next season.

The issue has become murky to say the least by Honda’s signing of Aussie Casey Stoner to partner Dani Pedrosa.

Aware of its obligation to accommodate Dovizioso, HRC launched a sustained but unsuccessful attempt to secure fresh investment to run a three-pronged factory attack next season.

No money has meant no confirmation of Dovizioso’s 2011 ride, with Honda tapping up its satellite teams run by Fausto Gresini and Lucio Cecchinello to take the former 125GP world champion with the guarantee of full factory support.

Dovizioso’s manager Simone Batistella told MCN: “The contract is pretty clear and there are a few things that need to be clarified between us and HRC. We need to be clear on the project before we either force or change the contract.

"It is important to understand the will of both parties and if the project that we thought is in place is still there. If it is not there then there is a problem. If it is still there then we can see about a compromise.”

Dovizioso has exercised remarkable restraint given his somewhat shabby treatment by Honda, the Italian again stating his intention to remain a HRC rider without resorting to criticism of his plight.

But Batistella made it clear that the situation was becoming a source of considerable consternation for the 24-year-old when he added: “It would be a big, big blow and I can’t predict the reaction of the rider.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt