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John Hopkins and Randy de Puniet

John Hopkins and Randy de Puniet

John Hopkins and Randy de Puniet

This week's Contenders For 2006 on the MotoGP Channel are two riders hoping to achieve premier class success this season, although with varying degrees of "previous" in the category.

At the age of 22, John Hopkins is already something of an experienced hand in the World Championship. The former AMA Supersport and Formula Xtreme Champion made his debut at only 18 years of age for Red Bull Yamaha in 2002.

A rider with a reputation for brave moves and daring driving, Hopkins has been a Suzuki rider since 2003. He will continue with the Japanese outfit, for his fifth season in the premier class, in 2006.

Randy de Puniet is one of a fine batch of rookies out to impress this time around. The Frenchman makes the jump from 250cc, a category he moved to after two seasons in 125cc. The quarter-litre class, perfect for the Gaul's physique, was the scene for impressive wins over four seasons although blighted by inconsistency.

This year De Puniet joins Shinya Nakano in the Official Kawasaki Racing Team, hoping for a successful 2006.

250cc, 2006

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