Nieto Favorite To Substitute For OJ

Still no official announcement so far on who will be replacing Olivier Jacque on the Kawasaki at this weekend's Le Mans MotoGP round. Unsurprisingly, but rather unwisely, Jacque is determined to take part in his home grand prix, despite his doctors advising him against it, but it seems unlikely that he will be able to take any meaningful part in the proceedings. The most likely consequence is that Fonsi Nieto will take OJ's place on the Kawasaki, as the Spanish World Superbike rider has a verbal agreement with Kawasaki that he would get the first chance at a substitue ride in case of rider injury.

The only slight fly in Nieto's ointment is the fact that the agreement was made last year, when Harald Eckl was running the team. However, following Eckl's acrimonious split with Kawasaki at the end of last year, the status of that agreement must be in at least some doubt. This could leave the door open to Bridgestone tester Neil Hodgson. The former World Superbike champion is without a ride this season, having gambled perhaps a little too much on Carl Fogarty being able to put a team together. But with Hodgson's proven record, both in Superbikes and in MotoGP, the temptation must be great to renege on Nieto's verbal agreement, and bring in the British veteran.

The Kawasaki Racing Team have said that they expect to make an announcement early on Tuesday.

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