News 14 Feb 2012

Hopkins ruled out of WSBK opener with broken hand

American John Hopkins has been injured during testing at Phillip Island.

American John Hopkins has been injured during testing at Phillip Island.

John Hopkins has broken a bone in his right hand after suffering a corner-entry high-side crash on the first day of testing at Phillip Island in Australia yesterday.

The Crescent Fixi Suzuki rider will fly back to USA tomorrow morning and see his hand surgeon immediately, before deciding if he will be able to return to Australia and race at the opening round of the World Superbike Championship on 26 February.

“This feels so devastating because I was feeling really comfortable on the bike right from the start,” Hopkins said. “I was running the 2011-spec bike with just small modifications to the engine and the new Yoshimura exhaust and hadn’t yet got on the full 2012 bike. But I felt that the GSX-R had already been improved in the areas it needed to be.

“The track conditions were not the best and we started the day a bit late because there were some damp patches around from the overnight rain. Having said that, it wasn’t the damp that caused the crash. I was on a used tyre and probably on the last lap before pulling in.

“I exited turn one and might have been just a little bit too hot for the condition of the tyre going into turn two, when suddenly the rear came round even before I got on the brakes. I was spat off and unfortunately came down on my right hand – the same one that is missing a bit of finger.

“The X-rays show that I have fractured a bone in the base of the hand near what’s left of my fourth finger. I will fly home tomorrow and see my hand surgeon, Doctor Chao, and we’ll decide what has to be done. I would say that my chances of racing at Phillip Island next week are very slim, but the important thing is to get the hand sorted correctly and be completely right before I race.

“It may be better to miss Phillip Island and then use the six weeks or so before Imola to get back to 100% – we’ll see. I want to say thanks to the Crescent Fixi team for all its efforts and sorry to Suzuki and all the team’s sponsors – we’ll be back and fighting for the podium soon.”

It’s expected that Australian BSB contender Josh Brookes will race in place of Hopkins at Phillip Island.