News 14 Feb 2012

Brookes confirmed as Hopkins' replacement at Phillip Island

Former Australian champion locked in for World Superbike season opener.

Aussie Josh Brookes will be on the grid at Phillip Island this month.

Aussie Josh Brookes will be on the grid at Phillip Island this month.

Australia’s Josh Brookes has been drafted in to replace injured American John Hopkins in the Crescent Fixi Suzuki team for the opening round of the 2012 Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island from 24-26 February.

Hopkins crashed in private testing at Phillip Island on February 13, suffering a suspected fracture of a bone in his right hand, just behind the ring finger. He has now returned to America for treatment, and has already been declared unfit to race at the season opener in less than two weeks’ time.

With the early call made on Hopkins, Brookes, now racing for Suzuki in the British Superbike title, was sought out by Crescent to return to the WSBK paddock for the first time since he competed on a Honda at Silverstone in July, 2010. Earlier that season, Brookes also rode as a wildcard at Phillip Island.

“It’s not actually a complete shock that I’ve got the ride,” said Brookes. “Sure, John crashing wasn’t in Crescent’s plans, but based on the fact that I am a Suzuki rider in the UK it all makes sense that I would be the first in line to get the seat, especially because I am familiar with the bike and Pirelli tyres.

“I’m sure I will do a good job and give the Aussie fans another rider to cheer on.”

Brookes is now en route to Phillip Island, where he will see out a three-day private test session at the grand prix circuit tomorrow, before another official two-day hitout on 20-21 February as the final shakedown before the 2012 season commences.

Brookes has always been a prolific performer around Phillip Island, winning numerous national-level races last decade, as well as edging out compatriot Kevin Curtain in a pulsating 2004 world Supersport battle.

“I know that motorcycle racing is unpredictable, and anything can happen on any given day,” said Brookes. “This is just a one-off event and I’m treating it that way, but I’m confident I’ve got a great package to really achieve something at Phillip Island. I am really looking forward to getting amongst it.”

Brookes will be joined by compatriots Mark Aitchison (BMW), David Johnson (BMW) and Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) in the WSBK races from 24-26 February.