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GP Week : Issue 27
>>Moto GPnews ess Double-dumped Gibernau to get another MotoGP chance VETERAN Spanish rider Sete Gibernau, twice runner up to Valentino Rossi in the World Championship, may get another chance for a MotoGP return, riding a fifth Ducati for a proposed new team, to be run by 13-times World Champion Angel Nieto. Gibernau tested for the Ducati factory, setting impressive times at Mugello during the summer break. But hopes of a return to the team that dropped him at the end of 2006 fell through when the Italian factory decided to concentrate on younger riders. Now Gibernau’s name is linked with the proposed new team, which is itself expected to be confirmed with the week. This knocks another name off the list for the troubled Kawasaki team, whose lead rider John Hopkins is under severe scrutiny after missing the first day of practice for the San Marino GP. The team blamed the return of a chest injury, but the paddock grapevine suggested there were other reasons that known ‘party animal’ Hopkins was unfit. Hopkins is expected to stay with the team, but the second seat is still vacant, with West certain to leave. Earlier hopes that they might lure Dovizioso from Honda have come to naught, while another candidate, Toni Elias, may also be unavailable. Dovizioso has finally signed to join the factory Honda team alongside Pedrosa, taking Hayden’s place; while two rostrums in a row have turned Elias from underdog to a hot property, with his Alice- backed Ducati team now anxious to keep him after all. The team had told Elias before the Misano GP that his services were no longer required; but that changed when he finished third in the race. 13