I have watched been following the ‘Hopperman’ for a while now….even when he was in that horrible Kawasaki green that made him look like the Christmas Grinch…but the elbow on the floor stuff is just unbeatable. Let’s hope he doesn’t try too hard in the opoening rounds, fall off and bugger the rest of the season for himself, the team, the championship and the viewing public…….
John Hopkins says he cannot wait to get the 2011 season underway after his deal to join the MCE British Superbike Championship was officially confirmed.
As expected, Crescent Suzuki has announced it will field the former MotoGP rider in 2011, the American following in the wheel tracks of former rival Sylvain Guintoli in making the switch to BSB with the Jack Valentine-helmed squad.
Looking to become the first American to win a BSB race, Hopkins is excited to be starting a new chapter in his career having been blighted by injury woes in recent years.
“I am really looking forward to BSB and working with Crescent again, it will obviously be a different crew but I know they are a great group of guys and that will be a good foundation to start the season.
“It is going to be a huge challenge for me, I know there are new tracks to learn, but I am not too concerned, I have to say with a passion for motocross I am definitely looking forward to Cadwell Park! I have seen the racing and photos from there and I can’t wait to have a go myself.
“I have seen BSB races before and I know that there is some tough competition there, so I am excited to get started – especially as I haven’t raced most of the other riders before. It is pretty much a level playing field in terms of the riders and their experiences, but that always makes for the best racing.
“Everyone says how close BSB is and I know that it will be the same this season, but I know I am joining one of the top teams and we will have been testing ready for the start of the championship
Hopkins switched from MotoGP to Superbikes in 2009 with a deal to ride a Stiggy Honda in the world championship, but he would only start six of those races. Furthermore, having most recently competed in the AMA Superbike series he missed a large portion of the season through injury.
“I have been unlucky with injury in past seasons – that comes with the territory but I can honestly say that I am fitter than I have ever been before, both mentally and physically. I know I had a reputation in the past, but it has all changed and my focus is on racing and I am really enjoying it.
“I wouldn’t be coming to BSB if I didn’t think I could be successful and I think it will be a better stepping stone for my future. The team had a great season last year and I am confident in them and the bike that we will be up there where we need to be.
“My style really suits the Suzuki and I am looking forward to riding the full-blown Superbike again, as in the U.S series the bikes are more restricted.”
Hopkins is a former four-time podium winner at MotoGP level and thus one of the most successful riders to be joining the BSB series. As such, series director Stuart Higgs is delighted to be welcoming him to the fold.
“Back in the 70s and 80s riders from the United States regularly graced the English circuits; legends such as Kenny Roberts, Randy Mamola and Freddie Spencer, so it is fantastic for BSB to restart that tradition. I’m sure John’s arrival will be nothing short of spectacular.”