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Hodgson suffers MotoGP snub

NEIL Hodgson has been snubbed in a last-minute bid to secure a ride in this weekend's British Grand Prix.

This Is Lancashire: NEIL HODGSON NEIL HODGSON

Hodgson, who rides for Ducati in the American Superbike Championship, hoped to persude his Italian employers to let him take the place of injured GP rider Sete Gibernau.

The Burnley rider approached Ducati after Spaniard Gibernau was ruled out of the race when he broke his collarbone in Catalunya earlier this month.

But team bosses rejected Hodgson's appeal - along with several other riders - in favour of Alex Hoffman, who rides a 2005-specification bike for the satellite D'Antin team.

"I can understand Ducati's decision to put a rider on as a support to Loris Capirossi, but I'm disappointed it isn't me," said Hodgson, who raced for the French D'Antin team in 2004.

"I was very interested, it would have been good to get a ride on a 2006 MotoGP bike. Especially one that is up date compared with the one I rode."

However, Ducati boss Livio Seppo explained the team's decision, saying: "We didn't consider any other riders apart form Hoffman. That's because these bikes need a level of confidence that is impossible to reach in such a short time.

"And it would have created an unfair level of expectation with the British fans, which would have only made things worse."

Hodgson would have been available for the Donington Park round as his next scheduled appearance in the AMA series isn't until July 23 at Laguna Seca in California.

American Nicky Hayden heads for the Leicestershire circuit in the MotoGP driving seat, courtesy of a first Grand Prix win of 2006 in a breathtaking duel with Colin Edwards at Assen which ended in last corner mayhem.

Hayden leads the standings by 42 points, with team-mate and rookie sensation Dani Pedrosa moving up into second after a third place in Holland.

The third, fourth and fifth places in the classification are occupied by some of MotoGP's walking wounded.

Capirossi, Valentino Rossi and Marco Melandri were all doubts for the race last time out, Capirossi and Melandri as a result of a huge crash in Catalunya.

Champion Rossi is still recovering after breaking bones in his hand and ankle following a nasty-looking tumble in the first Assen practice session.



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