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Hopkins apologises for first corner melee

Hopkins apologises for first corner melee

Hopkins apologises for first corner melee

John Hopkins has accepted the blame for the first corner chaos at Motegi yesterday and apologised to Carlos Checa, Troy Baylis and Colin Edwards, who were all punted into the gravel when the Suzuki rider missed his braking marker and skittled through the field. Hopkins was later sanctioned for his mistake with a one race ban, meaning he will miss the next round at Sepang on October 15th.

We´d been running pretty decent times all weekend, and I wanted the best start possible, explained the 20 year old American, now in his second season of Grand Prix racing. I went into the first turn too hot, and there was nowhere to go except into Checa. I deeply apologise to him - I made a huge mistake. I also want to apologise to the other riders involved as well.

The first of those other riders was Checa, who was reluctant to point the finger. There is no point trying to blame anyone for what happened because it is a bit late for that, said the Spaniard. I got a good start and was behind Valentino when I was hit. I´m so fed up after the hard work we´ve put in all weekend. There´s not a lot more I can say.´

Bayliss saw things differently, claiming Hopkins had already hit Checa when he became embroiled in the chaos. I made a really good start and things were looking good going into the first turn, commented the Australian. Then Hopkins comes up the inside into Carlos, and as they go down I go over the top of them. Im okay, but my helmets got some gravel rash and tyre marks on it! You can only laugh or cry and Id rather laugh!

Of the four riders only Edwards returned to the race, thanks to a little help from Bayliss. I came into the corner and saw there was no way through so I had to follow the other guys into the gravel, said the former World Superbike Champion. The rear wheel sank into the gravel but luckily my old mate Troy was there to give me a push! The gap to the others was enormous but I rode out the rest of the race to test the new Michelin front.

MotoGP, 2003, John Hopkins

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