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Mar 18, 2002

HMC Terminates Picotte, Deal With Chandler Rumored

From a press release:<BR><BR>HMC SAYS GOODBYE TO PICOTTE<BR><BR>HMC Ducati Racing must with great regret announce the termination of its working relationship with Pascal Picotte. The team and rider were not able to form the necessary bond needed to be successful in such a demanding sport and the difficult decision was made shortly after the Daytona 200 this month.<BR><BR>Team owner Mitch Hansen blames no one for the break in the union. "We have every respect for Pascal and his riding talent," he said. "It's unfortunate that we were unable to find that necessary chemistry with Pascal. We wish Pascal all the success for the future and we wanted to cease the union early enough for Pascal to find another, more appropriate, ride to finish the rest of the season."<BR><BR><BR><BR>Additional information from our research:<BR><BR>Reached by phone, HMC Team Manager Mark Sutton declined to comment on rampant rumors that Picotte will be replaced by Doug Chandler.<BR><BR>Reached by phone, Picotte's manager (and former racer) Alan Labrosse said that he had heard of the change from HMC team owner Mitch Hansen at about 4:00 p.m. Sunday, and said of his conversation with Hansen, "He said he had come to the conclusion that it was in the best interest that he replace Pascal. He told me the chemistry wasn't working, but I doubt that is the main issue here. I suspect it might be something else. He stuck to his story, I sense there is something beneath here, but the truth will come out.<BR><BR>"The chemistry, the tire test went very well, testing at Fontana went very well, Pascal had fast times, they had some Italian engineers there, as far as Pascal is concerned everything went very well.<BR><BR>"At Daytona there were a few gremlins but Daytona always brings out gremlins. As far as I am concerned there was nothing near serious enough to come to such a conclusion."<BR><BR>Asked how Picotte was taking the news, Labrosse said, "He's disappointed and frustrated, as any individual would be. Right now he's at the gym."<BR><BR>Labrosse added that Picotte's recent experience with Harley-Davidson made him tougher mentally and that he was determined to carry on in his career.<BR><BR>Labrosse said that Picotte had a contract with HMC Ducati.