Simoncelli to Gresini Honda

Henny Ray Abrams | June 24, 2009

One of the first pieces of the MotoGP puzzle fell into place with the signing of 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli by the San Carlo Honda Gresini team for 2010.The 22-year-old Italian was among several hot properties for the 2010 season, the first in which rookies must sign with satellite teams. He’ll replace the underperforming Alex De Angelis, whose contract expires at the end of the season.Who Simoncelli will team with has yet to be decided. Spaniard Toni Elias currently holds the spot, but several names have been mentioned as his possible replacement. From the MotoGP paddock the most prominent name is Marco Melandri, the Italian who had his greatest MotoGP success with the Gresini Honda team, but now rides a Kawasaki for Hayate Racing. And from outside the paddock the most notable name is Yamaha’s Ben Spies.”Everyone loves Spies,” team coordinator Carlo Merlini said. “So do we. He’s on the list like many others.”Merlini said the team had been so focused on signing Simoncelli and re-upping title sponsor San Carlo, the Italian snack company, that they hadn’t given much thought to the second rider.”We’ve been focusing on re-signing San Marco for the third year as the title sponsor and fifth year with the team,” Merlini said, “and focusing on getting Simoncelli.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.