MotoGP: Chaz Davies set to replace Alex Hofmann for rest of 2007

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Chaz Davies is expected to ride in the last four races of the 2007 MotoGP world championship after German Alex Hofmann was axed last night from the D’Antin Ducati squad.

Davies, who raced in the final round of the American Supersport and Formula Xtreme races in Laguna Seca yesterday (Sunday), will now fly to Japan to contest this weekend's Twin Ring Motegi GP with a deal expected to be confirmed later on today.

He will also partner veteran Brazilian Alex Barros in Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia after Hofmann was dumped following his controversial retirement from Sunday's Estoril GP in Portugal. Hofmann's sacking was confirmed in a statement released by the D'Antin team at midnight last night.

The short statement read: “After the Grand Prix of Portugal, during which Alex Hofmann entered the pit boxes with 17 laps remaining, and said, "I don´t have the motivation to fight for the last positions', the team management of Pramac-d´Antin have decided to release Hofmann from his contractual obligations for the remainder of the 2007 MotoGP season."

Hofmann retired from the 28-lap race citing a lack of motivation after he was running in last place and six seconds adrift of the field.
His retirement incensed team boss Luis D'Antin, who acted swiftly to axe him for the remainder of the season and sign Davies as his replacement.
If a deal is confirmed later today, it will be the second time this season that Davies has stepped in to replace Hofmann. The British rider was drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Hofmann in July's American GP in Laguna Seca after the former factory Kawasaki rider suffered a serious left hand injury in the opening practice session.

Davies, who completed a two-day test session in Mugello last week and is being lined up for a test rider with Bridgestone and Ducati in 2008, spoke to MCN from Laguna Seca and said: "I have been contacted by Ducati and the team and it's all a bit of a shock. At the moment I'm waiting for an e-mail to confirm everything but obviously I'd love to do it. It would be awesome."

D'Antin was livid after Hofmann inexplicably went public about the reasons why he had retired in Estoril.

D'Antin couldn't hide his frustration and disappointment at Hofmann's actions and he said: "I think that lack of motivation is not an excuse for us, and therefore the team reserves the right to make a decision on whether or not he will continue racing with us for the remainder of the season."

What had got D'Antin in such a rage was when Hofmann said: "Today was not my day. First, I had a problem with my A bike while I was going to the starting grid, so I had to come back into the pits and change to my B bike. After the race started and I saw I was six seconds back from the last person, I couldn't find the motivation to continue fighting only to remain last. I'm very sorry for reacting in this way."

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt