Only Hayden has a contract
Whilst all other factories in MotoGP have confirmed at least one new arrival for the 2008 season, Honda seem to have been concentrating predominantly on improving this season's RC212V rather than their rider line-ups.
Only one rider currently
competing under the Honda banner has a contract for next year; reigning MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden. ‘Trick Daddy' signed a two year deal before the race at Motegi last year, and is the only certainty in the Japanese factory's ranks for next season.
The only rider to win a race for Honda this season, Hayden's factory team colleague Dani Pedrosa has yet to put pen to paper on any kind of deal for 2008. Speculation linked him with the Suzuki ride now set to be occupied by Loris Capirossi, but with that seat and those at Ducati already taken, the Spaniard looks increasingly likely to stay with the manufacturer that has included him in their ranks since his debut season in 125cc.
The only other factory ride that Pedrosa could possibly opt for is at Kawasaki, who are not thought to have been in talks with the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion and appear to be focused on one of their current line-up joining new arrival John Hopkins.
One spot definitely available for next year is that presently occupied by Marco Melandri in Gresini Honda. The Italian announced that he would be riding the red livery of Ducati after his podium finish at Laguna Seca, leaving a position open for Fausto Gresini to fill.
Walking wounded Toni Elias is looking to earn the type of results that last year effectively kept him in MotoGP and, with Melandri's departure, could accept the task of being the Honda satellite team's number one rider.
Gianluca Montiron's Konica Minolta Honda team and Lucio Cecchinello's LCR Honda outfit have both yet to announce any changes for 2008, but current riders Shinya Nakano and Carlos Checa's deals come to an end after the final race of the season at Valencia.
Announcements as to any possible renewals or new incorporations will surely be made before then.
DORNA / CAPSIS International