250cc GP frontrunner Fonsi Nieto has declared that he'd be proud to ride for the Caracchi-NCR Ducati team in World Superbikes next season.

Nieto, nephew of 13 times world champion Angel Nieto, had been chasing a d'Antin Ducati MotoGP ride after a poor season in the quarter-litre class, but negotiations stalled and the Spaniard has instead turned his attention to WSBK - resulting in a two-day test with NCR on a 749 Supersport machine at a Almeria last week.

Speaking afterwards, team principal Stefano Caracchi explained that - while no deal has yet been signed - an agreement that would see the 26-year-old join Lorenzo Lanzi on satellite spec 999s in 2005 is "very close".

"Our aim (for the test) was to allow Fonsi Nieto to get confidence on a four-stroke bike and to evaluate the possibility of co-operation next season. After this test an agreement looks to be very close," declared Caracchi.

"Fonsi, during the final day on a dry but very, very cold track, made 33 laps. He liked the bike's handling and had words of praise for the whole team saying 'I'd be proud to work with them'.

"The contact with Fonsi goes on constantly and we soon hope to come to a positive conclusion. The presence of a fast Spanish rider in the Superbike series should be a great success from which all the championship could benefit," concluded Caracchi.