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Hodgson and De Puniet ready for big match

Hodgson and De Puniet ready for big match

Hodgson and De Puniet ready for big match

Aside from Sunday's race action, high on the agenda for many of the MotoGP riders today was the upcoming Euro 2004 football championship, which gets underway in Portugal on Saturday. Several of the riders posed for photographs today in the shirts of their national teams, with Neil Hodgson, who is responding positively to treatment to his broken ribs, one of the most vociferous in his support for his home country.

"I am a football fan like every true Brit should be – I always get revved up for the internationals," commented the World Superbike Champion ahead of England's opening game against France on Sunday. "When it comes to the World Cup or the European Championship I'm like everybody else – sat in front of the TV with a beer and cheering like a loony.

"I'll definitely be watching on Sunday. It's a massive game, probably the biggest of the first round. Everybody will be a bit nervous but England won 6-1 the other day and France have had a few shaky performances so you never know. If we can get a win over them then we'll be on a roll."

Randy De Puniet will certainly be hoping that is not the case. The Frenchman leads the 250cc World Championship by three points from Dani Pedrosa and would like nothing better than to kick-off a positive day of sporting action for his home country with a repeat of his victory here last year – the first of his Grand Prix career.

"Like Neil, I'm looking forward to the football and I really hope France can win and become European Champions again," commented De Puniet. "But my focus at the moment is definitely on the race. It will be tough here with Dani supported by his home crowd but I am confident."


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