Simoncelli linked to third Ducati?

Sponsor supposedly prepared to front cash for a third factory Ducati for Marco Simoncelli

Simoncelli linked to third Ducati?

RUMOURS are surfacing that Ducati's sponsor Phillip Morris is prepared to stump up a serious amount of cash to get Marco Simoncelli onto a third factory Desmosedici next season.

Simoncelli has been on Ducati's radar for some time, as the Italian manufacturer approached the hairy-Italian for 2009, with the 250 champion opting for another year in the quarter-litre championship to defend his crown. Then Ducati boss Livio Suppo optioned Marco again for 2010, however the hairy-one made his MotoGP debut with Gresini Honda.

Making Ducati and Phillip Morris' approach for Simoncelli plausible is the news that HRC will only supply two Repsol Honda riders with factory RCVs - expected to be Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, with Andrea Dovizioso dropped to make way for a two-rider official team, perhaps stepping down to the Gresini or LCR squad.

Simoncelli's personal manager Carlo Pernat is supposedly in talks with Ducati. However, should Fausto Gresini wish to retain Simoncelli on factory equipment he would have to front the money, an expense difficult to consider with his rider's up-and-down performance.

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