Hacking on Deck for Red Bull U.S.GP

Henny Ray Abrams | July 6, 2008

Monster Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking is the front runner to replace the injured John Hopkins for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “We will almost certainly run a replacement rider at Laguna Seca and, should we decide to run one of the Kawasaki US riders, then I think Jamie Hacking is the preferred option. However, nothing has been confirmed yet,” said Ian Wheeler, the communications manager for the Kawasaki MotoGP team. Kawasaki MotoGP team manager Michael Bartholemy told the official MotoGP website last week that the choice was among Hacking, teammate Roger Lee Hayden, and Attack Kawasaki’s Chaz Davies. Of the three, Davies is the least likely simply because Kawasaki and Monster Energy would prefer to replace Hopkins with another American. If it is Hacking, the team would be replacing one Anglo-American with another; Hacking was born in Lancaster, England and, like Hopkins, proudly displays his English heritage. Hayden and Davies both have grand prix experience. Hayden finished tenth in last year’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Davies rode the Pramac d’Antin Ducati as a last minute stand-in for Alex Hofmann last year. He finished 16th. The race would mark the debut for the 37-year-old Hacking in MotoGP. Hayden, who lost his left pinkie and suffered a smashed pelvis and broken lumbar when he was rammed at Barber Motorsports Park in April, has yet to be cleared by his Monster Kawasaki team to ride in the AMA portion of the combined AMA/MotoGP weekend. Hayden and his brother Tommy, of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team, will ride their race bikes for the first time since April in a test at Willow Springs International Raceway this week. Tommy has been sidelined since suffering a broken left tibia and dislocated left ankle, along with a cracked rib, bruised lung, bruised kidney, and lumbar damage when he was speared on the first lap of the Supersport race at Auto Club Raceway in Fontana, California. Roger Lee recently began riding again, including a stint last week on his Supermoto machine when he was almost as fast as ever. “I really don’t know what the hold-up is, because I’m definitely ready and been riding a little bit of flat track at my dad’s house and came to California and rode motard one day and felt really good on the bike,” Roger Lee said in a Friday phone call from California. “That was nice. My first day of riding really hard I wasn’t too far off of the lap times I did in January, when I was here before Daytona for a couple months.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.