its nakano...elias will more than likely be with d'antin next year
Nakano's signing had been widely predicated, but was recently put in doubt by rumours that former motogp
star Max Biaggi may get the seat. Preliminary talks between Biaggi and Gresini were confirmed, but Biaggi returning to honda
- with whom he suffered a bitter split at the end of 2005 - was always a remote possibility. Biaggi, third in the 2007 World Superbike championship
, is now linked with a satellite ducati
ride in WSBK
Meanwhile, Nakano has been forced to switch Honda teams to make way for the arrival of 250 title contender Andrea Dovizioso, whose Team Scot is expected to graduate with the Italian and merge with JiR. It is not yet known if title sponsor Konica Minolta will stay with JiR, move to Gresini with Nakano or withdraw from MotoGP
"I'm happy to announce Shinya Nakano who, together with Alex de Angelis, will be the colour bearer of our team on a Honda RC212V with bridgestone
tyres," said team principal Fausto Gresini. "Shinya is a rider with a great potential, so far expressed only in part. We strongly believe in him as also Honda HRC and Bridgestone do. We have signed with the Japanese rider a one year contract with an option. We will start to prepare for the new season immediately after the Valencian GP in an important test session where our riders can start to get confidence with the Honda RC212V with Bridgestone tyres
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Nakano, like fellow Michelin-shod satellite Honda rider Carlos Checa, has endured a tough 2007 season, with a best finish of just tenth.
"It's my pleasure to work with the Honda Gresini Team," said the former factory Kawasaki
rider and 250GP title runner-up. "I know Fausto, he was a rider before becoming a team manager and he has worked very well with Honda HRC for many years. I will be pleased to learn something from the team and to work with my new team-mate Alex de Angelis. I believe we can have a good season together. I also look forward to work with Bridgestone tyres as well, I have good memories with them."