Motorcycling: Doohan asks rivals to make him an offer

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The Independent Online
Australia's three-times world champion Michael Doohan seems ready to start an auction for his services next season after confirming yesterday that he has put his retirement plans on hold.

The 32-year-old Honda rider, who leads this year's championship by 43 points from his team-mate Alex Criville of Spain after six rounds, said he would listen to offers from rival teams. "The other guys [teams] are pretty desperate for some results. They might pull something big out," Doohan said.

Doohan, who had hinted that he would retire at the end of the 1997 season, said he would make a decision about his future employment after the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on 6 July.

Doohan, whose right leg almost needed to be amputated after a high-speed crash at Assen in 1992, did not rule out staying with Honda, the team he has helped lift to a position of domination. "Honda always put their money where their mouth is," said Doohan, who is reportedly paid pounds 2.8 million a season by the Japanese manufacturer.