What everyone already knew has finally been confirmed. Today, JIR finally announced officially that Shinya Nakano will ride the Konica Minolta Honda for the 2007 season. The one detail that wasn't expected was that Nakano will be on Michelins next year, as all of the rumors surrounding Nakano's move to Konica Minolta involved the team switching to Bridgestone tires. Nakano is widely considered to be a very strong rider, whose results have suffered due to being on inferior equipment, and the switch to what is widely expected to be the most competitive bike on the best tires should give the Japanese rider a chance to shine.
In contrast to Nakano's move, his replacement at Kawasaki is totally unexpected: Olivier Jacque will return from duties as a test rider to race with Kawasaki again in 2007. The move has some logic to it, as the 33-year-old has a long association with Kawasaki, including duty as a test rider and a season racing the green bike back in 2004. As official Kawasaki test rider, OJ is also one of the very few people who has seen Kawasaki's new 800 machine, due to be tested for the first time at Sepang in November. Jacque's pairing with Randy de Puniet means that Kawasaki will be fielding an entirely French team in 2007.