Tech 3 waiting on Dovizioso and Crutchlow

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Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow are yet to inform the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team that they will be leaving the French squad at the end of 2012.

The hot MotoGP rumour is that Italian Dovizioso has agreed a two-year deal to replace Valentino Rossi in Ducati’s factory squad next season.

And British rider Crutchlow is also believed to be contemplating a chance to ride a factory supported GP13 Desmosedici in a new ‘junior team’ that could be run by Ducati’s current satellite squad Pramac or the Marc VDS Racing Moto2 team.

Dovizioso and Crutchlow were both made a formal offer to remain with Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 squad immediately after last month’s US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

The offer was made on a first come first served basis with Tech 3 already committed to moving up British rider Bradley Smith from its Moto2 squad.

Speaking to MCN this morning though, Poncharal said he had not been informed by Dovizioso and Crutchlow that they had accepted rival bids.

He said: “As of today, I have not been told that Andrea or Cal are leaving Tech 3 at the end of the season.

“Over the weekend everybody was calling me to say that it was official that Andrea had signed a two-year deal with Ducati. That might happen but I called his management and they assured me that no final decision has been taken and when that happens I will be the first one to know.

“As for Cal, I haven’t spoken to his manager Bob Moore for three or four days but in our last conversation he told me they were very interesting in staying with Tech 3.”

Poncharal told MCN that the offer he made to Dovizioso and Crutchlow included a deadline for them to respond that expires during this weekend’s Indianapolis MotoGP race in America.

“If we hear nothing then we will start to speak with other parties,” said Poncharal.

“If the worst-case scenario is that Andrea and Cal are both leaving the team, more and more I would like to become a junior team for Yamaha where we can develop and nurture young talent for the future.

“This is not a request of Yamaha or anybody else but this is more the direction I would like to take. If Andrea and Cal leave us then I am more than willing to take two Moto2 riders.”

With Marc Marquez already signed to Repsol Honda and Andrea Iannone strongly linked to Ducati’s new ‘junior team’, that could leave a YZR-M1 slot open for Spaniard Pol Espargaro.

Espargaro, who has won two Moto2 races in 2012, would be an appealing option for Tech 3 and its title sponsor Monster, with the 21-year-old already having a personal sponsorship deal with the American energy drink giant.

Dovizioso has made no secret of his desire to secure a factory ride in 2013 but the chance to partner Jorge Lorenzo on a factory YZR-M1 next season vanished when Rossi signed a two-year deal to return to Yamaha after a disastrous spell with Ducati.

That only leaves Ducati as an option and the former Repsol Honda rider told MCN recently he would not be put off by Rossi’s failure to make the Desmosedici a consistent podium contender.

Dovizioso told MCN: “I’m Italian so riding for Ducati would be very good. I don’t know if next year or in the future but I think there is a real possibility one day I will ride for them.

“The results of Valentino don’t put me off and sure the bike at the moment is not the best. It is not easy for the riders that are there but until you try the bike yourself it is impossible to understand the problems.”

For full coverage of Rossi’s move back to Yamaha, see the August 15 issue of Motor Cycle News.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt