VALENCIA, SPAIN, NOV 8 – Spanish oil giant Repsol has re-upped for two more years as the title sponsor of the Honda factory MotoGP team, while expanding their sponsorship to three riders.Over the course of the past few months speculation was rampant that the three factory Honda riders, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, and the incoming Casey Stoner, might be split into two separate teams. Honda tried to entice Red Bull, which has personal sponsorships with Pedrosa and Dovizioso, into the fold, but those talks ultimately came to nothing. Then it was up to Repsol to sign on and agree to take all three riders.The announcement the day after the Valencia season finale noted that it was a return to the past, when Repsol sponsored three riders at the start of their partnership with Honda back in 1995. The riders that year were Mick, Doohan, Alex Criville, and Shinichi Ito.Since Repsol came on board, Honda has 90 wins and 252 podiums that led to eight premier class world championships, four with Doohan, one with Criville, two with Valentino Rossi, and the most recent, Nicky Hayden’s 2006 title.Pedrosa ended the year with a career best four MotoGP wins in a season, while finishing a distant second to Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) in this year’s MotoGP World Championship. Pedrosa’s slim title hopes ended when he broke his left collarbone in a practice crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in October. Pedrosa was forced to miss Japan and Malaysia, and withdrew from Australia after qualifying 15th. Dovizioso ended the season fifth overall with a best finish of second, which he scored three times, at Silverstone, Japan, and Malaysia. He also scored his first ever premier class pole position at the Motegi race.Stoner will get his first taste of the Honda RC212V when the two-day MotoGP test begins in Valencia on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
Repsol Honda: Three Riders, Two More Years
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.