– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Jacque Is Back

While few were surprised to see Valentino Rossi atop the podium yet again at yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix, few could have predicted the rider who would stand just below him in the position reserved for the second-place finisher. That man was Olivier Jacque – a former 250cc World Champion who has not raced in MotoGP since 2003, and who had only one short test session at Estoril to acclimate himself to the Kawasaki he would ride as a substitute for the injured Alex Hofmann.

Besides being Jacques’ best ever result in the premier class of world roadracing (he had previously finished fourth in the 2003 French GP at Le Mans), the second-place finish was Kawasaki’s best ever finish as well. Certainly not what would be expected from a rider with so little seat time on the Kawasaki ZX-RR.

Jacque, who won the 250cc championship in 2000 and had an up-and-down career in 500cc/MotoGP racing from 2001 to 2003, was brought in at the last minute to replace Kawasaki racer Alex Hofman, who was injured several weeks ago during a MotoGP promotional event.

The Frenchman will continue aboard Hofmann’s bike at his home Grand Prix in Le Mans two weeks from now. Being that Le Mans is a familiar circuit for Jacque, and the site of his best-ever finish in premier-class racing, there is a good chance he will prove to be a podium contender in that race as well. Especially since he is likely to have more time to test the ZX-RR in the interval before Le Mans.

If Jacque performs as well at Le Mans as he did in China, we expect that he will be receiving a multitude of offers for employment next season. A MotoGP ride is possible, although perhaps a seat on a World Superbike, AMA Superbike, or British Superbike is more likely. Whatever happens, Jacque is definitely coming back strong, and this won’t be the last time you hear his name.

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