Makoto Tamada looks set to be the next MotoGP star to join World Superbikes, with the Japanese rider understood to be in advanced negotiations with the Italian DFXtreme Honda team.
The 30-year-old Japanese rider was once considered to be a potential future threat to Valentino Rossi when he won two races on a Bridgestone-shod Honda in 2004, but since then though he has disappeared without trace.
A disastrous two years on a Michelin-shod Honda with Konica Minolta saw him cling onto his MotoGP place with a last-minute deal to join the Dunlop-bankrolled Tech 3 squad for 2007.
Makoto Tamada has again struggled to make any impact and despite stating his intention to stay in MotoGP, his options have all but disappeared.
The signing of James Toseland from World Superbikes and Colin Edwards from Yamaha’s official factory team has seen him axed from the French-based Tech 3 squad after just one season.
With no place in Ducati, Yamaha or Honda’s top teams in World Superbikes now available, Makoto Tamada could find himself in a privateer team which would mean he wouldn’t be involved in official Pirelli tests during the winter.
Makoto Tamada said: “My wish was to stay in MotoGP for another year. I have a lot of World Superbike offers. I’m still discussing and have to decide.”