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John Hopkins gives his first impressions of the Suzuki GSV-R

John Hopkins gives his first impressions of the Suzuki GSV-R

John Hopkins gives his first impressions of the Suzuki GSV-R

John Hopkins made his Suzuki GSV-R debut earlier this week in private tests at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. The 19 year old American, who contested his rookie season aboard a Yamaha YZR500 in 2002, will ride the Mk2 version of the 200mph V4 race machine in 2003, and he was delighted to take the opportunity to ride the 2002 prototype development model ridden this year by Kenny Roberts and Sete Gibernau.

`I thought my first ride on the Suzuki was really good,´ reflects Hopkins, who won the AMA Formula Xtreme title in 2001 on a race-kitted Suzuki GSX-R1000. `I went out and had fun and put in the laps. The bike was everything I´d expected, and it was really good to get back on Michelin tyres. I felt real confident on them right away, and that´s one of the big things I´m happy about. To ride, the bike is a little like a 500 in some ways, and in other ways more like my old Suzuki. The way it handles is like the GP bike, but it seemed quite a bit easier to ride than a 500. It gets the power to the ground more like the Formula Xtreme bike, and there´s a real lot of power´.

`Hopper´ endured a gruelling but promising first season in Grand Prix racing, only missing out on the Rookie of the Year title to 250cc World Champion and factory HRC rider Daijiro Kato. After stepping straight into a new challenge with Suzuki almost before the two-stroke smoke had even cleared from the final race of the season, the Californian is now looking forward to spending some well-earned time with his family. `I am taking a break now – just being home is a holiday after my first season and all the travel. I´ll spend as much time as possible riding my motocross bike, and we´re also moving into a new house that was built while I was away during the season.´

MotoGP, 2002, John Hopkins

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