Andrea Dovizioso has admitted that it looks unlikely that he will be part of the factory Honda team next year now that it has signed Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, and says he is open to moving to another manufacturer if an acceptable alternative ride cannot be found within the Honda family.
Dovizioso's contract is believed to guarantee that he can remain a factory Honda rider if he achieves a certain level of performance – which he has done with his 2010 results. The initial suggestion was that a separate works team could be set up to accommodate him on a satellite bike, possibly with Red Bull backing, but as this possibility faded rumors suggested that Honda was encouraging him to accept a factory bike run by the Gresini team instead. The Italian acknowledged that his chances of staying within the works HRC lineup were now slim.
"I think it will be really difficult for Honda to have three bikes at HRC next year," said Dovizioso. "Maybe we will have four factory bikes, but not in the HRC team. We're still speaking about that."
Dovizioso is confident that his situation will be resolved in the very near future.
"I think not too far away, we'll find a solution. I'm not sure how exactly, but we'll find a solution," he said. "[It will be] Gresini or HRC – if I stay at Honda. Our target is this. But we're still speaking to people on that."
He denied suggestions that he was unwilling to go to Gresini because he had a bad relationship with team boss Fausto Gresini and incumbent rider Marco Simoncelli.
"This is not the problem and a reason why I don't want to go there," Dovizioso insisted. "The reason is that I have a contract to stay here and I want to stay here. "But sure Gresini is one of the best satellite teams. There's not a problem with Simoncelli."
While reiterating that his preference was to maintain his long relationship with Honda, Dovizioso said he was open-minded about moving to another manufacturer if he could not resolve his contractual issues. Suzuki is the only other factory team with an obvious vacancy – though Yamaha is yet to officially announce that Jorge Lorenzo will stay on – while top non-works team Tech 3 Yamaha has yet to completely finalize its 2011 plans.
"We're still speaking with Honda, we want to stay with Honda, but if nothing is fixed, we need to be open about everything," Dovizioso said. "From the beginning, and now, our target is to stay with Honda. So we're pushing 100 percent to find a solution with Honda. We're still speaking and I think we will find a solution with Honda.
"If we don't find a solution with Honda, I think we need to see...but our idea is to stay at Honda."