Three 'names' linked to Tech 3 ride

Laverty, Dovizioso and Bautista targeted by the satellite Yamaha team

THREE candidates have been recognised as the strongest possibilities to join Tech 3 Yamaha in 2012.

Tech 3 team manager Hervé Poncheral has said that the team have identified "three names" to take the vacated seat of Colin Edwards, naming Álvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso and Eugene Laverty as the favourites and adding that the decision of who will take the Texan's place should be clear by Japan.

Commenting on the subject to Motorcycle USA, Poncheral said: "I would say the two strongest candidates at the moment are Eugene Laverty and Andrea Dovizioso. It is not an easy decision."

Stepping up from WSS to WSB, Laverty has displayed himself as a promising talent, with a highlight being his flawless double victory at Monza, but as Yamaha withdraw from the production-based series the Irishman finds himself in the shopping window. "Eugene is young and really fast and he made a good step from Supersport to World Superbikes this year," said Poncheral. "With Yamaha stopping in World Superbike he’s facing a tough situation right now, but I have a lot of faith and trust in his potential."

Dovizioso appears to be holding out for a place on a competitive Honda for when MotoGP shifts to 1000s next season, however the Italian does not want to take a step backwards from a factory bike and is running out of time to make his decision.

But Hervé acknowledges his experience: "On the other hand Dovizioso is third in the championship and a proven performer in MotoGP. We know immediately he would understand the bike and he could deliver good results straightaway and that is something we have to consider.”

Riding in his second year and as the sole Rizla Suzuki rider, Bautista has made progress into MotoGP's second group behind the leaders, taking a best finish of fifth in the rain at Silverstone and sixth in the dry at Indianapolis. Commenting on the Spaniard, Poncheral said: "I believe Alvaro is giving the priority to Suzuki first and if nothing works out there it could be Aspar or us." As Bautista awaits news of Suzuki's involvement in MotoGP for 2012 and whether a 1000cc GSV-R will come out of the Hamamatsu workshops.