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Jacque and Nakano reunited at Kawasaki

Jacque and Nakano reunited at Kawasaki

Jacque and Nakano reunited at Kawasaki

One of the strongest duets ever seen in the 250cc World Championship will be reunited this weekend at Shanghai, as Olivier Jacque has been called to team up again with Shinya Nakano. The Frenchman will replace the injured Alex Hofmann at Kawasaki Racing for the next two races and is looking forward to his comeback in the premier class.

The riders have been good acquaintances since the 1999 season, when Nakano competed in his first full 250 campaign under the French Yamaha Tech3 outfit colours. He immediately proved to be a match for Jacque and the following year the two riders delivered one of the closest fights for the quarter litre class crown.

Nakano won the two opening rounds of the 2000 season, but Jacque proved to be more consistent and finally clinched the title in the last round, at Phillip Island, by beating his team-mate on the last corner, edging him out by only 0.014s.

In 2001, the two riders moved up to the MotoGP class with the Yamaha Tech3 team. Nakano was an instant hit, grabbing the Rookie of the Year award with fifth overall, while Jacque had a lacklustre season, ending in 15th.

With the introduction of the 4-stroke bikes in 2002, things proved more difficult for the Japanese and the Frenchman as they had to contend with the old 500cc 2-stroke while the frontrunners pulled away on their 990cc thumpers. The following year, they parted company as Nakano moved to d'Antin Yamaha and Jacque remained at Yamaha Tech3 for what was to be his last full campaign in the premier class.

In 2004, Nakano embarked on a new challenge with the young Kawasaki Racing team, while Jacque only made two appearances as a wildcard, helping Japanese tuner Moriwaki Racing.

This weekend, the two riders will once again share the same colours, under the guidance of technical director Ichiro Yoda, who had also been a long-time servant of Yamaha before joining the Green team.

MotoGP, 2005, TAOBAO.COM GRAND PRIX OF CHINA, Shinya Nakano, Kawasaki Racing Team

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