Possibly the biggest mystery in motorcycle racing since Max Biaggi failed to get a ride for 2006 ended today: why Neil Hodgson, a rider who is talented, popular and likeable, could not get a ride for the 2007 season, after Ducati pulled out of AMA superbikes at the end of last year. Surely, everyone believed, there must be someone in need of a fast rider?
Well, it turns out there is. British weekly Motorcycle News is reporting that the Ducati MotoGP team have hired Hodgson as a test rider, substituting for the injured Shinichi Itoh. Hodgson has a vast amount of experience, having ridden lots of different bikes in different series on a wide range of tires, and is consequently a perfect fit in the role of tire testing. As the Bridgestone / Ducati tire tester, Hodgson will also be first in line to replace an injured rider at Ducati, and improve his chance of finding a full time ride for 2008.