Reigning 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli will make his MotoGP debut next season with the San Carlo Honda Gresini team in 2010, the satellite outfit announced on Wednesday in the Assen paddock. The team have also announced that San Carlo are to remain as their principle sponsor next year.
The deal will see the quarter-litre category star replace one of either Toni Elías or Alex de Angelis in the team.
Simoncelli had rejected offers of a MotoGP move for the current season in order to defend his title, but will finally make the switch after the present campaign.
Team owner and manager Fausto Gresini commented: “We're extremely happy to be able to make this important announcement: renewing our agreement with San Carlo, who have shown great belief in us and continue to support our targets for next year, and the agreement with Marco Simoncelli to race with us in MotoGP.”
“Marco has shown over the past couple of years that he has the ability to be a major force in the premier class, as well as being a great communicator. We have established a good feeling with him already and that facilitated negotiations over a contract that we have signed for 2010. Also, Honda rate Simoncelli highly and believe he is a rider with great potential for the future, so Honda is very pleased that we are welcoming him aboard next season.”
Simoncelli himself added, “Next year I will be a member of the Honda Gresini team and I am very happy because it is an Italian team. I think they are a very strong team. I am very happy to be with Honda and with Fausto. As many people know I am friends with Valentino Rossi and we sometimes go motocross training together, but I would like to be fighting against him next year because that will mean I am doing very well.”
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