Repsol Honda signs Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez until 2014

Thursday, July 12, 2012
REPSOL Honda has officially confirmed retiring world champion Casey Stoner will be replaced by rookie Marc Marquez, with fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa retained to ride alongside him for the next two years.

Following Stoner's shock announcement at Le Mans, Honda initially made a bid for Jorge Lorenzo, but were unable to prevent the 2012 title leader from re-signing with Yamaha.

Keeping Pedrosa then became HRC's stated priority and terms were said to have been agreed even before Pedrosa won his first race of the season last Sunday in Germany.

"I'm very happy to be able to announce my renewal with the Repsol Honda Team for the next two years. It's been a very long relationship with Honda and I had a strong desire to stay here," said Pedrosa.

"The fight for the Championship this year is still open and the next two seasons will be very interesting for me. My whole career has been linked to Honda, since I entered into the World Championship in 125cc, then in 250cc and since 2006 in MotoGP.

"I'm perhaps one of the riders with the longest history with Honda, which makes me feel very proud. I want to thank HRC once again for their support; I'm sure that we have great things to do together".

Pedrosa's victory, combined with Stoner's last lap Sachsenring fall, means the Spaniard has moved into second in the world championship, 14 points from compatriot Lorenzo heading into this weekend's Mugello round.

Joining Pedrosa on the official RC213Vs next year will be former 125cc world champion and current Moto2 title leader Marquez.

Marquez's path straight into the factory team has been cleared by the recent removal of the 'Rookie Rule', which had forced all new riders to spend their first MotoGP season at a satellite team.

“To reach MotoGP next season with Repsol Honda is a dream come true and I want to thank HRC for their confidence in me," said the 19-year-old, whose aggressive on-track style has resulted in several visits to Race Direction.

"I am very proud to be a part of the big Honda family for the future and I don't want to forget all the people have helped me since I began to ride motorbikes.

"Now my focus is on Moto2 where my team and I are working very hard and we are excited to achieve our goal, which is to win the World Championship in 2012.”

The Pedrosa-Marquez line-up officially ends any chance that seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi could make a return to the team.

Stoner's shock exit plans initially prompted 'anything could happen' responses from Honda regarding Rossi, but these were soon watered down to only a possible satellite team ride.

Rossi insists no contact has been made and is looking ever more likely to re-sign for Ducati, despite just two podiums since leaving Yamaha at the end of 2010, although a theoretical chance of re-joining Lorenzo on a Factory YZR-M1 remains.

Stoner was world champion with Ducati in 2007 and then in his debut season at Repsol Honda in 2011. The 26-year-old has taken 36 race victories since 2007, more than any other rider.

HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto said of his future line-up:

"We are very pleased to renew our contract with Dani and welcome Marc to the Repsol Honda Team. Dani is enjoying a very strong season and currently fighting with Casey and Lorenzo for the Championship, we are very pleased with his performance.

"Marc has already proved how fast he is in 125cc and Moto2, and we believe that, giving him the right time to adapt to the new class, he will also be able to show this in MotoGP in the future."

Pedrosa and Marquez join Lorenzo, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Yamaha) in having signed for the 2013 MotoGP season.

This weekend's Italian Grand Prix is round nine of 18.

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