Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso could be dropped from Honda’s official factory MotoGP program next year, according to the company’s racing boss Shuhei Nakamoto.
Honda’s factory Repsol backed squad expanded to three bikes for this season, in order to accommodate Ducati refugee Casey Stoner alongside existing riders Dani Pedrosa and Dovizioso
While Simoncelli is in his second year with the San Carlo Gresini team, the 24 year old Italian was given a factory specification bike at the beginning of 2011.
Nakamoto told Motosprint magazine that the current state of Japan is likely to see a reduction in Honda’s MotoGP efforts for next year.
“These are hard times, the economic crisis is far from over,” said Nakamoto.
“On top of that, Japan has some big problems due to the disasters that happened last spring. All our industrial sector has had to slow down production by 30 per cent, and Honda is not immune from that. So we had to cut costs too.
“If I was forced to make an announcement today with regards to our 2012 riders, I could only talk about the works team because Stoner and Pedrosa are the only ones with a contract for next season. So I would have to say goodbye to both Simoncelli and Dovizioso.
“I’ve asked both to wait and be patient: we are trying to solve the situation, which is fundamentally tied to a matter of money. The budget will be cut, but I don’t yet know by how much. By mid-August everything should be clearer.”
In other MotoGP news, 37 year old American Ben Bostrom has received a wildcard to race a second LCR Honda at the upcoming U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Bostrom currently races a Suzuki for Michael Jordan Motorsports in the AMA Superbike Championship.