News 5 Aug 2011

Hopkins on track for triple challenge in WSBK, BSB and MotoGP

American John Hopkins has enjoyed a massive season to date since returning to Europe with Suzuki.

American John Hopkins has enjoyed a massive season to date since returning to Europe with Suzuki.

When John Hopkins climbed aboard his Samsung Crescent Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Silverstone in the UK last weekend, he joined an elite band of riders that have competed in three championships in the same season.

But Hopkins’ challenge is even more amazing when it’s considered that he is also currently competing in the three different competitions – British Superbike, World Superbike and MotoGP – over three consecutive weekends.

“This has been an incredible run of races for me and it is a pretty big deal to do three different championships in three weekends!” Hopkins said. “I know Yukio [Kagayama] did it in 2003 and carried on with an amazing run of nine consecutive races. I just have no idea how he managed that.

“It was good to get back to world racing last weekend at Silverstone and we did okay there, but I think we deserved a little better after qualifying on pole. We’d know how to get a better race distance result if we went back now. The weekend was a boost for all of us as it showed we are good enough to be there.

“This week at Brands will be busy as we have three races over two days, so there will be little time for rest and relaxation, but the BSB title is my main goal this weekend so I am totally focused on that.

“Then we go to Brno for the MotoGP race. It’s a really big pleasure to be given this opportunity by Suzuki and I am going there much better-prepared than when I rode as a replacement at the start of the season.”

“It’s an amazing thing to be in this position when I consider where I was at with my physical condition just a year ago and I’m so grateful to everyone that has helped me to get back to a decent level.

“I just hope that from these three race weekends I can produce some quality as well as quantity to repay the faith shown in me. One thing I can guarantee is 100 percent commitment!”

The Anglo-American began the process at Silverstone for a WSBK wild card appearance with his Samsung Crescent Racing squad. The team impressed on the World stage with Hopkins achieving pole position followed by a fifth place finish in the first race and seventh in the second.

Hopkins is a favourite for this year's BSB title in the UK with Suzuki.

Hopkins is a favourite for this year's BSB title in the UK with Suzuki.

He now faces a trip to Brands Hatch for a triple-race BSB weekend that sees him continue his attack on the BSB title and his final venture – and final Championship – in a gruelling trilogy of races will see him compete as a wild card for the Factory Rizla Suzuki MotoGP squad at Brno on 14 August as teammate to MotoGP regular Alvaro Bautista.

Hopkins has become the first rider to complete this incredible sequence of National Superbike-World Superbike-MotoGP races in the current 800cc MotoGP World Championship era.

However, he is joined in the record-books by former Crescent Suzuki racer Yukio Kagayama from Japan as a rider that has also competed in BSB, WSB and MotoGP in one season and incredibly also in three-consecutive weekends.

Hopkins’ return to the world stage completes an incredible comeback by the 28-year-old from Ramona in California. Just 12-months ago, he was having corrective surgery to his wrist to save his career after several specialists had said he’d never race again.

The operations and rehabilitation were successful and, alongside a personal drive to change his lifestyle and dedicate himself to rebuilding his career, Hopkins competed in the AMA Superbike Championship towards the end of 2010, even making an appearance on the podium.

He was offered the opportunity to re-establish himself in the UK with the Samsung Crescent Racing squad – a team owned by current Rizla Suzuki GP Team manager Paul Denning – and eagerly took the chance.

He is currently in second place in the BSB standings and his dedication and loyalty to Suzuki through this season has now seen him rewarded with a MotoGP ride at Brno.