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Hopkins: `It felt like a freight train´

Hopkins: `It felt like a freight train´

Hopkins: `It felt like a freight train´

John Hopkins revealed his deep frustration at the pile-up which saw his chances of a maiden MotoGP podium slip away in the first corner of the Camel Grand Prix of Japan. Hopkins started from the front row for the first time in his career but became the victim of an almost identical crash to the one he caused at the same circuit one year ago.

"Word's can't express my disappointment," said Hopkins, who broke two ribs and gashed his buttocks in the crash. "I guess it's some kind of payback. Last year I took out some riders in the same place and this year I got taken out.

"It sucks, but I'm just hoping it will not affect Qatar. I've broken some ribs, but I hope I can make the race. I was running into the corner in second right behind Rossi. I had no warning – it felt like a freight train hitting me."

Team Suzuki also lost Kenny Roberts in the same incident, the American ruled out of the next round in Qatar with a dislocated elbow, and the agony was complete for Team Manager Garry Taylor, who had managed to injure himself before the racing even started!

"What a weekend," said Taylor. "We had excellent results in qualifying and both guys got a great start. Then they both suffered very painful injuries … though it could be worse. It's especially poignant for John after his similar incident last year.

"Kenny was lucky that Dr Costa and his team were on hand to relocate his elbow straight away. He is certainly out of Qatar – we will have to wait and see about John. If we decide to replace Kenny, either test-team rider Gregorio Lavilla or factory tester Kosuke Akioshi would be candidates.

"Today's injuries came after I sustained a fracture in the foot last night, slipping in the shower. As I said – what a weekend."

MotoGP, 2004, CAMEL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, John Hopkins

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