Hodgson wrong to reject Ducati GP ride

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Former British and World Superbike champion, Neil Hodgson, was wrong to have rejected the chance to join the D’Antin Ducati MotoGP squad for the 2007 world championship.

That’s the view of his manager Roger Burnett after seeing the impressive race debut of Ducati’s new 800cc GP7 in the opening race at Qatar.

Casey Stoner’s stunning success in Qatar was backed up by Ducati’s incredible top speed and horsepower performance, with all four GP7 machines dominating the speed trap figures.

Hodgson was offered a deal with the D’Antin squad for 2007 after his hopes of a return to Ducati’s World Superbike squad were dashed by reigning champion Troy Bayliss, who vetoed Hodgson’s selection.

The 33-year-old was reluctant to return to the premier class stage with Luis D’Antin after he endured a torrid time with the Spanish team in 2004.

He spent the last two years riding for Ducati’s factory team in the American superbike series, but is currently without a ride following the Bologna factory’s decision to quit the AMA.

Best D’Antin rider in Qatar was Alex Barros, who finished ninth, and Burnett said: “Watching Barros do what he did in Qatar, it was maybe the wrong decision not to ride that bike.

“It’s easy to say in hindsight but had things not necessarily gone the way they have and Ducati being so strong then he’d have been quite happy to have not been in the team.

“I think Neil has got enough experience to realise that you can only make a decision with the knowledge you’ve got at the time. I still think it was probably the wrong one and I think Neil thinks it’s probably the wrong one now as well.

And Burnett added: “If you rate yourself better than Barros and (Alex) Hofmann then he knows he could have finished higher than eighth in the race.”

 

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt