The MotoGP Rumour Mill is in full swing and this year seems to be full of rather crazy speculation. The biggest news by far is the rumour that Rossi intends to quit at the end of 2012 or even before. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published a story recently that speculates that Rossi has told those close to him that this will be his final season in MotoGP. There is even talk of his last race being at Misano this year. Rossi has dismissed the rumours, but as always, where there is smoke, there is a story... It is widely expected that Rossi's crew chief Jeremy Burgess will quit MotoGP at the end of this year, for personal reasons.
At Assen this weekend the rumours have got even wilder, as Cal Crutchlow has openly admitted that he is talking to Ducati, because he is after a factory ride. His logic is that he is beating Ben Spies who has the other Yamaha factory bike, while Crutchlow is on the Satellite Tech3 Yamaha under Herve Poncheral.
However as Crutchlow seems to rate the word 'Factory" with higher value than the actual performance of the machine, his logic seems to be a bit flawed. How he can equate a Factory Yamaha with a Factory Ducati at the present moment is beyond current comprehension. The only logical explanation or analysis of his thinking would be that he rates his own riding skill not only better than Spies, but also better than Hayden and Rossi. Perhaps Crutchlow believes that if he was on the Ducati, he would be a title contender?
Nicky Hayden is stuck right in the middle of all this, as Ducati are not yet offering him anything for next year, despite the fact that he is faring better than the paddock favourite - Valentino Rossi on the troubled Ducati. The Ducati team, have cited the Audi takeover as reason why they have not been able to finalise contracts for 2013, but that has not stopped them talking to Crutchlow... (did anybody say fickle?)
Then there is the rumour that Rossi is going to ride for Repsol Honda next year to replace Casey Stoner? Sounds outrageous that Honda would even consider having Rossi back after all the nasty things he has had to say about them, but stranger things have happened.
The final news of the weekend, lets me have a dig at the European organisers of the MotoGP series.
After Casey Stoner publicly condemning the "Rookie Rule", which prevents MotoGP rookies riding for a factory team, (a rule which prevented both Stoner and Spies from getting factory rides in their rookie year, but was not around when Rossi moved from 250 to 500), The organisers have now decided to scrap the rule... just in time for Marc Marquez to step up next year with Repsol Honda into a MotoGP factory ride. Now that stinks as far as I am concerned. I have nothing against Marquez, I think he is a fantastic rider, but it certainly looks a bit dodgy to me to remove the rule at this point. Stoner cited this rule as one of the things "wrong with MotoGP", saying that it was things like this that made him tired of being a part of the sport.
The problem is that there is no real opportune time to remove a rule that should never have been made in the first place, as the people being favoured by its removal will benefit, and those who were subjected to it will never be compensated, so it just reinforces that fact that the people who organise the sport are not thinking these things through. We all know that sport and politics should not mix, but it's even worse when the politics in the sport spoil the sport for all concerned.