The US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca will mark the MotoGP debut of AMA Superbike contender Jamie Hacking, who will deputise for the injured John Hopkins aboard Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR this weekend.
Hacking, who received the call-up to MotoGP during his 37th birthday celebrations two weeks ago, has already impressed aboard the Ninja ZX-RR during a two-day, pre-race test at the Autopolis circuit in Japan, where he broke the lap record.
The three-time AMA champion arrives in Laguna determined to match, or even exceed, the performance of his Kawasaki teammate, Roger Lee Hayden, who finished tenth as a wild card rider in this race twelve months ago.
Hacking will make his MotoGP debut off the back of six consecutive podium finishes in the AMA Superbike class, which he will also contest at Laguna Seca, making for a very busy weekend for the British born rider.Like his temporary teammate, Anthony West also heads for Laguna Seca with high hopes for the weekend. The Australian celebrated his 27th birthday on 17th July, and is looking to give himself the best birthday present possible with a strong performance ahead of the summer break.
A seventh place in the USGP last year was West's best result of the 2007 season and, despite the fact that he's carrying injuries from two big crashes last time out at Sachsenring, the plucky Australian is determined to improve on last year's result this time around.
The Laguna Seca circuit is the shortest on the MotoGP calendar, but one that is regarded as being the most physically demanding on the riders. The 3.61km track also features possibly the most famous corner in MotoGP; the infamous corkscrew at turn eight.
Anthony West, "I'm looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca again, as I like the track and I really enjoy the whole lifestyle thing in California. I had my best result of the season at this track in 2007 with seventh place, and I hope this year's race will prove as successful after a difficult first half of the season for me. As well as being one of the most exciting circuits on the MotoGP calendar, Laguna Seca is also very physically demanding. With fractured vertebrae from my practice crash at Sachsenring, I'm not in the best condition going into the USGP weekend. I just hope the injury won't cause too many problems on the bike, although it's sure to be quite painful. As always, I'll be out there to do my best this weekend, and I hope we'll be rewarded with a good result on Sunday."
Jamie Hacking, "I'm really excited about riding Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR in the USGP at Laguna Seca this weekend. We had a successful test with the bike in Japan two weeks ago, and now I'm looking forward to riding the Ninja ZX-RR again under race conditions. Roger Lee set the benchmark at this race last year with an outstanding tenth place finish, so that's certainly given me something to aim for. Laguna is one of my best tracks, but I'm under no illusions about how hard it's going to be. I'll be up against some of the best riders in the world on a bike on which I've only had limited testing time. If I come away from the weekend with a top ten finish, then I'll be happy."