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Young gun Hopkins making waves in the MotoGP class

Young gun Hopkins making waves in the MotoGP class

Young gun Hopkins making waves in the MotoGP class

Red Bull Yamaha rider John Hopkins entered the inaugural season of the MotoGP category very much as an unknown quantity. Little was known of the 19 year-old in World Championship circles beyond his AMA Formula Xtreme title victory, and yet Hopkins has made a remarkably impressive start to his Grand Prix career. He has finished in the points in every race this season, (one of only 4 MotoGP riders to do so), and last weekend at Catalunya he broke into the top ten, and nearly took a shock pole. It was at the Montmelo circuit that caught up with the young American to discuss his debut season in the World Championship´s elite category. You´ve made a very consistent start to your debut season, how do you assess how it´s gone?

John Hopkins: I think it´s gone really well, my experience is growing all the time. It has been tough at times having to learn the tracks, and how to set up the bike, and I´m still learning about the bike. We pretty much found a basic set-up we can work from at every race which suits my riding style. I´ve been trying to score points at every race, and I was really happy to crack the top ten this weekend as that was what I have been aiming for since the beginning of the season, and so I have reached my first goal by race six.$$$ How much have you had to adapt your riding style since joining the World Championship?

J.H: I´ve found I had to change it completely really, after having to ride the big old dinosaur 4-stroke I was on back home! I feel I´ve adapted to the YZR pretty well, and I´ve had to work out the breaking, the limits of the 500 and also the Dunlop tyres as I was used to riding Michelins. But Dunlop are really starting to provide us with some good stuff right now which helps. Your team (Red Bull Yamaha) have had problems this year with the riders, first Garry McCoy and also J-M Bayle, how much has that upheaval affected you?

J.H: It´s actually affected my riding quite a bit. With Garry, we miss him because he was the main rider for us, and he was really the one who was testing the Dunlop Tyres and developing them at this stage. Since he isn´t here at the moment I seem to have become the main rider on the team, so that puts a little more pressure on me, but I try not to think about it too much.

MotoGP, 2002, John Hopkins

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