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Neil Hodgson adjusting to life as Britain's new MotoGP hope

Neil Hodgson adjusting to life as Britain's new MotoGP hope

Neil Hodgson adjusting to life as Britain's new MotoGP hope

World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson is no stranger to the World Championship Grand Prix paddock having served his apprenticeship with terms in the 125cc and 500cc series and now he returns for 2004 with factory Ducati machinery and arguably represents Britain's best chance of a victory in the premier class for over 22 years.

New Team D'Antin representative Hodgson celebrated his 30th birthday last week and is already starting numerous promotional duties as part of his role as a MotoGP rider. The Isle of Man resident was present (like most of the UK's motorcycle racing talent) at the mammoth bike show at the NEC show in Birmingham for several days and will be heading to Amsterdam next week for further Ducati affiliated publicity.

"The NEC show was absolutely packed and it was definitely the best show I've ever had," he remarked. "I guess it's better because I've had a good year and everybody wants to see you! I'm too used to visiting the show and everyone saying "What happened this year then?" It was the opposite this time! I spent a lot of time with Ducati at the show and tried to meet as many fans as possible but it's also a good opportunity for me to give a little bit back to all my personal sponsors as well, to spend a little time with them and meet their guests. It's nice to meet the fans away from a race environment because you're really chilled."

Hodgson clinched the Superbike world title last season with the Italian factory and in the same week as lifting the trophy also became a father for the first time in what has been a whirlwind of activity for the Brit. He is currently at the centre of a strong campaign to have him nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award (previous winners of the annual award that has been active since 1954 include names such as Princess Anne, John Surtees, Michael Owen, David Beckham and Lennox Lewis).

Hodgson gained best results of 10th (125cc Donington 1993) and 7th (500cc Donington 1995) riding privateer machinery. He is due for his first test on the Desmosedici next month in Spain.

MotoGP, 2003

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