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MotoGP grid for 2009 taking shape

MotoGP grid for 2009 taking shape

With another exciting season of World Championship action coming up next year, takes a look down the MotoGP grid to chart which rides are sorted and which are yet to be finalised.

Just four teams competing in the 2008 World Championship are set to stick with their current line-ups next year, with some exciting rider moves to new teams taking place at the end of the current campaign.

All four Yamaha riders will remain with their current teams, which will provide continuity and stability for new World Champion Valentino Rossi and his talented young colleague Jorge Lorenzo at Fiat Yamaha, as with James Toseland and Colin Edwards in the Tech 3 Yamaha team.

It is a similar story for Rizla Suzuki´s Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi who are set to line-up alongside each other once again on the GSV-R800, whilst Frenchman Randy de Puniet is due to continue with LCR Honda.

However, three riders will welcome new team-mates onto factory machinery when winter testing commences, with Nicky Hayden joining his friend Casey Stoner at Ducati Marlboro, Andrea Dovizioso teaming up with Dani Pedrosa at Repsol Honda and Marco Melandri looking to put his 2008 Ducati misfortune behind him alongside John Hopkins at Kawasaki.

At satellite outfit San Carlo Gresini Honda, meanwhile, Alex de Angelis stays put, with Toni Elias coming into the team to ride a works RC212V from HRC – the little Spaniard rejoining the employers he left at the end of last season.

The one new face certain to be on the 2009 grid is Yuki Takahashi, who takes the step up from the 250cc class to replace factory-bound Dovizioso in a restructured Scot Racing Team set-up.

Takahashi could possibly be joined in the battle for the Rookie of the Year title by two riders who are rumoured to be joining the Alice Team for the coming season – Finland´s Mika Kallio and Ducati´s young Italian tester Niccolo Canepa.

The satellite Ducati team should make a formal announcement on their 2009 plans at the forthcoming Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on the 17th-19th October weekend.

In addition, an increased Kawasaki and Ducati presence in the premier class next season is still a possibility. Kawasaki are still finalising rider and sponsorship plans to run a third factory Ninja ZX-RR, with an announcement expected imminently.

Sete Gibernau´s much-talked-about return to MotoGP is still apparently on the cards according to Italian and Spanish press speculation, the veteran Catalan possibly making a comeback on a fifth Ducati sponsored by Onde 2000.

With the aforementioned winter tests scheduled to get underway in the week commencing 27th October those remaining positions on the grid are likely to be finalised within the next fortnight, with any announcements sure to be followed closely by

MotoGP, 2008

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