Terms of em­ploy­ment

BIKE (UK) - - RACING -

There is a cer­tain amount of sur­prise around con­cern­ing An­drea Ian­none’s em­ploy­ment at Aprilia for 2019. Some peo­ple are shocked that Suzuki didn’t try to keep him, oth­ers that Du­cati didn’t want him back. Let me tell you two sto­ries. A few years ago a jour­nal­ist on his way to Motegi for­got his In­ter­na­tional Driv­ing Per­mit. He bowed and pre­sented the hire-car com­pany with a spu­ri­ous piece of pa­per­work, got his car and drove off con­grat­u­lat­ing him­self on his cun­ning. 12 months later he turned up at the same counter to be told they could not rent him a car. Sorry. Suzuki have a sim­i­lar mind­set. Their two-year con­tract with Ian­none started hor­ri­bly, but the car-hire mo­ment came at Le Mans 2017 when he was over­taken by team mate Syl­vain Guin­toli, who was re­plac­ing the in­jured Alex Rins. Ian­none dropped his lap times by well over a sec­ond-and-ahalf. Suzuki wouldn’t tear up their con­tract, that would have been un­think­able for a com­pany with their at­ti­tude. They re­solved to grit their teeth and see the sec­ond year out. But it wouldn’t mat­ter if he won races, he’d still be out. As it hap­pened his team mate out­shone him for most of the time. Go back a year and the car-hire mo­ment with Du­cati came when Ian­none rammed team mate An­drea Dovizioso in Ar­gentina, scut­tling a one-two. I have never seen any team man­age­ment so an­gry. The con­tract ex­ten­sion he was due to sign at the next race was promptly torn up. The moral of the sto­ries is: it’s OK to be an in­suf­fer­able arse as a fac­tory racer, so long as you’re win­ning.

Ian­none: con­tract con­ster­na­tion

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