Honda has denied Rossi the chance to test his new Yamaha at Sepang in Malaysia later this month because the Italian’s HRC contract only expires on December 31.

Honda has denied Rossi the chance to test his new Yamaha at Sepang in Malaysia later this month because the Italian’s HRC contract only expires on December 31.

While the relationship between Yamaha and Honda seems amicable enough, Honda is determined not to have the Italian on their M1 which greatly reduces Rossi's input concerning next year's machine.

Honda's decision was made despite allowing former drivers' special permission to start testing for their new teams. According to , Fortuna Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio thought that that would be the case this year too.

"Last year Biaggi tested the Honda immediately after leaving Yamaha, Melandri tested with us - as did Barros. Colin Edwards tested the Honda two weeks ago despite his contract with Aprilia. It seems to be generally accepted that a rider can test his new bike a little early, but I can understand Honda's decision," said Brivio.

Whilst the details of riders' contracts are always kept secret, Rossi's mistake appears to be simply that when signing what would be his final Honda contract, he didn't explicitly request that he would be a released after the final race of 2003, rather than the end of the calendar year.

That oversight was probably because Rossi never expected to leave Honda this season anyway, so was it wasn't a major consideration.