In an unanticipated, if suspected, turn of events, the testing role at the FB Corse project vacated by John Hopkins may be about to filled. The first hint came in a press release from the Italian team, in which they expressed their disappointment at John Hopkins, but also stated their firm intention to continue development of the three-cylinder MotoGP machine designed by Oral Engineering. The statement also said that the team had already signed a new rider to replace Hopper, whose name they would announce at the bike launch in early February. They would not name names, bu they did provide the following clue:
"The new rider has already been found, a top rider with proven experience in all of the most important world championship categories, and an outstanding development rider, but we shall only be revealing his identity at the Team Launch"