ASK THE MXPERTS: WHAT IS CHRISTOPHE POURCEL GOING TO DO?

December 20, 2010
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Dear MXA,
What is Christophe Pourcel going to do now? Did he ask for too much money? Does he have a secret deal in the works? Will Pro Circuit build him a KX450F? Will he race the GPs?

In truth, nobody really know what is going through Christophe’s mind and it would be wrong to try and act like we are mind readers. On the other hand, we do know some things:

1. Christophe was sure that Team Kawasaki was going to hire him for their 450 team, but Kawasaki never made him an offer. And according to Kawasaki, Christophe never approached them about a deal until it was too late. Budgets are budgets and as each rider signed a deal, the number of chips on the table decreased. Christophe moved too late because he expected Kawasaki to make the first move.

2. There was a chance that he could have gone to Kawasaki-mounted Hart & Huntington, but that would have required significant Kawasaki support.

3. He had an offer from Valli Yamaha, for what we surmise to be around $300,000, but he didn’t take it.

4. Pro Circuit is Kawasaki’s official 250 team and they are not in the business of fielding 450 riders against the Kawasaki 450 team. Thus, we are fairly sure that Pro Circuit will not magically produce a KX450F for Pourcel to race?unless Team Kawasaki is on board with the program…and we must assume that they aren’t.

5. Christophe has never come back to the USA since the end of the AMA Nationals. He has done no publicity, gotten no magazine press and not been visible. Although his agent represents him when he’s away, the agent always needs the help of this athlete and the press to work deals. Pourcel made himself invisible at the time when he should have been most visible.

6. Christophe could try to get an outdoor-only deal for 2011, by waiting for someone to get hurt at a factory team, but outdoor-only contracts don’t pay full pop and fill-in rides pay even less.

7. Christophe’s father has his own Grand Prix team, and Christophe could ride the GP’s on that team…but he really doesn’t want to return to the GP’s.

8. Anything can happen in the next two weeks, but:

      (a) Christophe set his price too high, which scared away some teams before they even got started.

      (b) His performance in the 2010 AMA 250 Nationals did not show the kind of strength that he needed to display to get serious 450 consideration…and because he did not return to the USA to prove that he was fit and ready to ride?he got back burnered.

      (c) Christophe’s agent should have been more aggressive in coming up with a negotiable price…it is possible that, in hindsight, $300,000 was the top price…and Kawasaki or Honda or KTM or Suzuki might have paid that.

     (d) Chad Reed found himself in the same boat as Pourcel, although he got there by his own making. Chad’s idea to start his own team was late in coming and seriously lacking in sponsorship. Pourcel would have even more trouble pulling a private effort together at this late date.

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