Half of the announcement expected today has finally come: In a press release, the Kawasaki Racing Team has announced that Olivier Jacque will not take part in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The wound the French veteran sustained in a get off in Shanghai had become infected, preventing him from working on recovering strength and movement in his arm. After discussions with his doctors and the team, OJ reluctantly decided to skip the French Grand Prix, and focus on returning at Mugello instead.
The question of who will replace Jacque was skillfully glossed over in the press release. Ian Wheeler, communications manager for the team, stated that "as Olivier will miss only one race there is no obligation for Kawasaki to field a replacement rider, although the possibility of running a second rider alongside Randy de Puniet will be discussed internally," which while true, seems highly unlikely The Kawasaki team has very strong links to France, and regards the Le Mans round as the closest thing they have to a home Grand Prix. It is looking like there are internal disagreements about who should take OJ's place, and these need to be ironed out before an announcement can be made. We await with bated breath.