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"
Other news sources were not so shy. GPOne.com suggested that this probably means Garry McCoy, while the Australian website MotoOnline.com.au stated that sources inside the McCoy camp had confirmed to them that McCoy would be riding for FB Corse.
The suggestion that McCoy should ride for FB Corse was glaringly obvious. The Australian veteran has ridden a vast range of machinery in his time, from 125s to a Yamaha YZR 500 to a Kawasaki 990cc MotoGP bike, an Ilmor 800cc MotoGP bike, a Ducati Superbike and latterly a Triumph 675 in World Supersport. After the Australian was unceremoniously dumped by the BE1 team which runs Triumph's racing program, and John Hopkins announced he would be racing in the AMA, it was inevitable that McCoy would take Hopper's place.
But the news is not yet official. It won't be official until the FB Corse unveil their bike in Milan, Italy in a week or so.