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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
Schwantz denies 2009 factory deal M oto GP news >> FORMER World Champion Nicky Hayden’s younger brother Roger Lee hopes to fulfil his Kawasaki MotoGP wild card commitments, in spite of losing a finger after a heavy crash in the AMA race at Barber Raceway last weekend. Roger Lee also suffered pelvic and spinal fractures after being knocked flying by another rider, but the worst injury was to his left- hand little finger. After assessment, the rider agreed that amputation was the best option. The youngest Hayden, reigning AMA Supersport champion, impressed in a single MotoGP wild card ride at Laguna Seca last year, where he finished tenth. He should be fit in time to repeat the exercise at this year’s US GP at the Californian circuit, and again at the Indianapolis GP. The second US and Indy GP star wild card is double AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies, a MotoGP hopetful, most of whose testing attempts so far have been foiled by weather or circumstances. Hayden Jnr okay for MotoGP despite big crash TEXAN hero and 1993 World Champion Kevin Schwantz has ruled out a rapid return to work with the Suzuki factory team next year, in the wake of reports last week that his re-employment in a new role with the factory team was imminent – at the same time casting doubts that double AMA champion Ben Spies will race for the factory in MotoGP next year. Schwantz is linked with Suzuki and Spies in the US and both have GP ambitions. But with a hoped-for second team run by Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez itself in doubt (see last week), there may be no berth for the American rider. “It’s an ongoing thing, and I would like to be involved,” Schwantz told GP Week. “I’m still very interested, but it’s got to be the right situation.” That did not exist, he implied, with the factory team as presently constituted. LOSS of a little finger is not an uncommon racing injury, and seldom troublesome. Barry Sheene was one victim, in 1980, returning later as a GP winner. More illustriously, Wayne Rainey suffered a similar injury in pre-season testing in 1882, but went on to win his third World Championship. 11