Andrea Dovizioso says he is now much more relaxed about his 2011 situation, and will definitely remain in the Honda fold, although he still does not know for certain which team he will actually ride for.
Honda has signed Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner for its works team next year, in theory leaving Dovizioso on the outside. But the Italian is adamant that his contract calls for him to get a factory Honda seat in 2011 if he meets a certain level of performance this year, and that he has fulfilled that criteria.
After initial suggestions of a third bike at the Honda factory team, potentially with Red Bull backing, next season faded, Dovizioso was instead linked with a move to the satellite Gresini team. Frustrated with this, he hinted that he could look beyond Honda for a 2011 ride, but he now appears to have been swayed by Honda's reassurance that it will create four equal factory bikes next year, and will simply place two of them with Gresini, where Dovizioso would join Marco Simoncelli.
"It's still not fixed, but I'm confident because the solution will be OK for all the four riders," said Dovizioso of his talks with Honda. "It's not a problem now, I'm focused on doing a good weekend here. We want to fight for the third position, and we need to stop Casey, because he is third in the championship and he has a few points' distance on me.
"That [contract] situation for me now is not a problem. For next year, I'm OK. For sure I will race with Honda."
Dovizioso will represent the works Honda team alone again this weekend following Pedrosa's Motegi crash. The Italian had his strongest run of the year in Japan, taking his maiden MotoGP pole and finished second in the race. He expects to be faster still at Sepang this weekend.
"We had a really good weekend in Japan, the best this year, and we arrive here a lot more confident than in Japan," said Dovizioso. "This is one of my best tracks, and my feeling with the bike is becoming better. I think we got really good experience behind Casey in Japan, so I hope we have a chance to improve the situation in the race."