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Kawasaki give Laguna Seca chance to AMA rider Hacking

Kawasaki give Laguna Seca chance to AMA rider Hacking

Jamie Hacking has been named by Kawasaki as their replacement rider for John Hopkins at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

Whilst Kawasaki have opted out of running a substitute rider for John Hopkins at Sachsenring this weekend, `Team Green´ have tied up the matter of whom will stand in for the Anglo-American at the upcoming Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. 37 year-old Jamie Hacking, who competes in the AMA Superbike championship that will run alongside MotoGP in Laguna Seca, will be given his MotoGP debut on July 20th.

Kawasaki have been preparing the veteran for action with two days of testing at the team´s Autopolis circuit in Japan this week, and Hacking immediately impressed by breaking the lap record onboard the Ninja ZX-RR.

`I felt pretty comfortable straight away. It´s an amazing machine. I can´t believe how sophisticated the electronics package is on the bike; already it feels like you can open the gas impossibly early out of the turns, but the data shows that it´s actually possible to open the throttle even earlier. To do this requires some confidence in the electronics, and that confidence will only come with more track time on the bike,´ says Hacking, who will have just the free practice and qualifying sessions to further familiarise himself with the machine next week.

Hacking is the latest AMA rider to be given a chance to compete in MotoGP at the U.S. round of the World Championship. Last year Miguel DuHamel and Chaz Davies –the latter another rumoured candidate for the Kawasaki seat at Laguna Seca this year- joined `Team Green´s third rider for the event, Roger Lee Hayden, on track. This year´s race will also feature Hacking´s rival and current AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies competing for Suzuki on a third bike.

The performance of Hayden last year –he was the highest placing American rider in the 2007 race in tenth place- means that Hacking can aspire to a similar or even better result.

`Roger Lee set the benchmark at this race last year with an outstanding tenth place finish, so that´s certainly given me something to aim for. Laguna is one of my best tracks, but I´m under no illusions how hard it´s going to be. I´ll be up against some of the best riders in the world on a bike on which I´ve only had limited testing time. If I come away from the weekend with a top ten finish, then I´'ll be happy,´ says the Lancashire-born U.S. citizen.

Kawasaki Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy is confident in the team´s choice of replacement rider, commenting, `Jamie was the obvious choice for Kawasaki when the factory started looking for a temporary replacement for John Hopkins. One big advantage that Jamie has is that he knows the track extremely well, and I think that will count in his favour, as it will allow him to focus completely on the bike during the race weekend.´

`Roger Lee set a hard target last year, but I´m sure that Jamie is heading to the U.S. round determined to do even better.´

Hacking will accompany regular Kawasaki man Anthony West at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, and will also be taking part in the regular AMA action on what will be a busy weekend for the experienced rider.

MotoGP, 2008, RED BULL U.S. GRAND PRIX, Kawasaki Racing Team

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