The MotoGP is on vacation, but the riders market doesn’t stop. There are many hot topics at hand during this incandescent July, starting with the future of the two Moto2 title contenders, Pedro Acosta and Tony Arbolino, with the latter who’s been held in a stalemate by Franco Morbidelli. A hot market that Carlo Pernat discussed with Paolo Scalera and Matteo Aglio during Friday’s episode of our Bar Sport.
Acosta’s arrival in the MotoGP is now certain and confirmed, but they still have to announce what KTM team the “Tiburón de Mazarrón” will be joining. KTM tried to construct two more bikes, but Dorna didn’t approve them. “Next year, the bikes are 22,” Pernat responded, reviewing the Spanish rider’s possibilities: “He can’t replace Miller, He won’t replace Binder, he'll replace Augusto Fernandez, but we also have to see how Pol Espargaró will be. Maybe they’re trying to convince him to be a tester. That would be a fair way to leave after what happened to him. I wouldn’t race again if they gave me a good contract as a tester. Maybe it would be more logical for him to take Pol’s place, rather than Augustus’.”
Less expected than Pedrito’s is Tony Arbolino’s presence on the 2024 grid, although his manager says he’s 50% optimistic. To establish the fate of the rider from Garbagnate Milanese will, in fact, be Ducati’s and Franco Morbidelli’s decisions. Franco is one of those who could be occupying Fabio Di Giannantonio’s bike on the Gresini team.
“The Morbidelli issue has many solutions, but it depends on what Ducati decides. If they decide to move Bezzecchi from Pramac – but I don’t think that will happen – Bezzecchi’s spot is Morbidelli’s. If they don’t change, there’s a place with Gresini or with Cecchinello, since Rins is leaving. And I know that Cecchinello has already spoken with Morbido and needs an experienced rider, and Arbolino doesn’t have one,” Pernat explained. “I hope that Ducati leaves things as they are. If so, there’s a good chance Tony could go to Nadia’s. If Ducati changes, then everything is more difficult.”
With the situation in Honda still to be decided – given Alex Rins’s imminent move to Yamaha and Mir’s and Nakagami’s uncertain positions – the manager from Liguria doesn’t exclude the possibility that an opportunity may present itself for Tony in Honda.
“I heard that Honda is doing some in-house maneuvers to take on young riders, since they don’t have any. I think they can also rebuild everything. It could be a great idea and, with certain guarantees, Arbolino would put him with Marquez,” he admitted.
Then what would happen to Giannantonio? There aren’t many possible destinations for the rider from Rome, according to Pernat: “If he’s not confirmed by Gresini, he’ll either return to the Moto2 or go to the SBK.” In fact, the SBK market is hot, very hot, and they still have to decide who’ll be joining Toprak Razgatlioglu in BMW, who’ll be replacing the Turkish rider in Yamaha, and which Ducati satellite team could decide to give Andrea Iannone – who’s ready to return after his disqualification – a chance.
Among the most talked about names of the moment is that of the eight-time champion Marc Marquez, whose permanence with Honda is less obvious.
Pernat, however, says he’s skeptical that Marc will move to Ducati, passing through the Gresini team.
“Ducati will never agree. They don’t need him. That would only create an imbalance in something that works like a clock. The balances will remain what they are: Marquez stays where he is,” Carletto said. And, in relation to the possibility of a bike for Marquez in Aprilia, he responded with an adamant: “Don’t dream about it.”
Between a loss of concessions and its new satellite team, the Venetian constructor has much more to focus on now: “It’s been more burdensome having an extra team rather than losing the concessions, because you have to have more resources, more men, more material. It’s like having four bikes. It’s a mess,” Pernat concluded. “You always pay for the first year, and not necessarily will you fix things in the second.”