"I feel sorry for everybody that had to work and ride for him. There is a reason why he is out of MotoGP finally" - that's Alex Hofmann personal opinion of his former MotoGP team manager Luis d'Antin.

Hofmann was sacked by d'Antin during the closing stages of the 2007 season, after pulling out of the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The German, who had to start the race on his spare bike and from the pit lane, withdrew from last place with 17 of the 28 laps remaining and was quoted by the team as saying "I don't have the motivation to fight for the last positions."

Luis d'Antin immediately warned that his team reserved the right to drop Hofmann for the remaining four rounds due to his withdraw - and Alex was officially sacked later that same evening.

But Hofmann - a d'Antin rider since the start of 2006 - refused to take the decision lying down, stating: "I consider the termination of my contract unjustified, and I will fight this decision with all legal resources at my disposal."

Hofmann also revealed that the official reason for his dismissal was listed as 'poor performance throughout the season', something he strongly denied. Hofmann had scored a career-best fifth place earlier in the year and was sitting just nine points behind team-mate Alex Barros when he was injured by Sylvain Guintoli during practice for round eleven at Laguna Seca.

A confidential settlement was subsequently reached, the outcome of which Hofmann appears happy with, although he concedes that his MotoGP career - which began with stand-in 500cc rides for Red Bull Yamaha and Honda Pons in 2002, progressed to a development role with Kawasaki in 2003 and then a full-time Team Green race seat for 2004 and 2005 - is now over.

Luis d'Antin's own MotoGP exit was just as sudden: On the eve of this July's German Grand Prix, a short statement from the Alice Team announced that the former grand prix racer had 'resigned' from his role as team manager. No further explanation was given.

d'Antin had run a premier-class grand prix team since 1999, initially with support from Yamaha, before becoming Ducati's satellite MotoGP outfit from 2004 onwards.

Norick Abe won a 500cc race for d'Antin in both 1999 and 2000, but at the time of d'Antin's departure the team's best finish with Desmosedicics was third place, courtesy of Ruben Xaus in 2004 and Barros in 2007. However, current rider Toni Elias has now taken two podium finishes (a second and third) at the last two rounds.

Hofmann - presently a factory test rider for Aprilia's WSBK project, with which he hopes to make a racing return in 2009 - says he wasn't surprised to see d'Antin leave and claims he could write 'a small book' about his experiences at the team...

Crash.net
Are you missing MotoGP at all?

Alex Hofmann:
Of course I do, even though I can say my years in MotoGP were tough. It was a great experience and I would be lying if I said it does not bother me not to be there.

Crash.net
With a year's reflection, how do you feel about your treatment by the d'Antin team?

AH:
Life goes on. I made my point of view clear and now I only feel sorry for everybody that had to work and ride for him. There is a reason why he is out of MotoGP finally. Looking back I was only wondering why nobody ever shouted out loud what was going on there. In my case it would be enough to write a small book.

Crash.net
If you could go back to the Portuguese race, would you have finished it?

AH:
Not at all! I have never pulled in at a race before in my career. I finished with crashed bikes, bent handlebars, tyres that were about to explode, bringing it home on the carcass. It was never an option for me. But at that point I had enough. I did not care about any consequences at that time. I handed [it] all over to my lawyer and caused him a lot of trouble in the end. My season was ruined anyway but I still had my pride to save!

Crash.net
Do you feel you have more to prove in MotoGP and would you go back?

AH:
Oh yeah. But I am realistic enough to know that there won't be a second chance. I raced two years with Kawasaki 04 - 05. At that time nobody really wanted to dress in green. Bridgestone was far away from winning the title. The 2004 standings are still the best Team Green delivered in MotoGP till today: Nakano 10th, myself 15th in my rookie season. Then I switched to Team d'Antin. No more comments about that. It is funny to see how the Alice Team results got much better since d'Antin had to throw in the towel.