Honda bosses have promised that Andrea Dovizioso will receive equal status to Dani Pedrosa in the factory MotoGP team next year after re-signing both riders for 2010.
When Pedrosa was paired with Nicky Hayden from 2006 to 2008, there were suggestions that the American was being marginalized and the bike developed to suit his Spanish teammate. Honda always played such talk down, and HRC vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto has insisted that Dovizioso is not regarded as a number two rider and will play an equal role in 2010 development with Pedrosa.
"Dovizioso and Pedrosa will have the same position inside the team," Nakamoto told Motosprint. "All we think of is to win, and in order to do that we need a better bike.
"We work together with the two riders, both of them, because that's in everyone's interest. It's not true that we have worked just for Pedrosa up to now. We have two riders and we use the work and the information from both of them. Andrea, too, is very useful for development work, and he will be more and more so."
Nakamoto also said that the status of Pedrosa's high-profile manager Alberto Puig with the team would change.
"Puig will stay in the team, but his role will change," he said. "He will have an organizational role: he will organize Dani's staff, but he won't deal with technical issues.
"Puig takes part in meetings, but it's not up to him to take decisions. Our relationship isn't so bad: we aren't friends, but it's not that bad."