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Nakano signs Gresini Honda deal

Shinya Nakano will ride for Gresini Honda in 2008, making a sideways switch from Konica Minolta Honda.

Shinya Nakano will ride for Gresini Honda in 2008, making a sideways switch from Konica Minolta Honda.

The Japanese rider has had a difficult maiden year onboard the RC212V, having switched factories from Kawasaki at the end of last season. The 30 year-old will line up alongside MotoGP newcomer Alex de Angelis in Fausto Gresini's satellite Honda outfit, which will say goodbye to Marco Melandri and Toni Elias after the final race of the year next weekend.

"I'm happy to announce that Shinya Nakano, together with Alex De Angelis, will be the colour bearers of our team on a Honda RC212V with Bridgestone tyres," said Gresini in an official statement. "Shinya is a rider with a great potential, so far expressed only in part. We strongly believe in him, as do Honda HRC and Bridgestone. We have signed a one year contract with Shinya, with an option on a further season. We will start to prepare for the new season immediately after the Valencia GP in an important session where our riders can start to get confidence with the 2008 package."

Nakano himself expressed his happiness with the move, in particular the link-up with respected Team Manager Gresini.

"It's my pleasure to work with the Gresini team," stated the former 250cc World Championship runner-up. "I know Fausto, he was a rider before becoming a Team Manager and he has worked very well with Honda HRC for many years. I will be pleased to learn something from the team and to work with my new team mate Alex de Angelis. I believe that we can have a good season together. I also look forward to working with Bridgestone tyres as well; I have good memories with them".

Nakano's addition to the team puts an end to speculation about Elias' future with Gresini Honda, something that had been long been up in the air. It also rules out the possibility of former MotoGP rider Max Biaggi making his return to the World Championship as part of the satellite team, something that had set the rumour mill to full speed last weekend in Sepang.

MotoGP, 2007, Shinya Nakano

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