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Hopkins announced as Kawasaki 2008 rider

Hopkins announced as Kawasaki 2008 rider

Today at Germany's Sachsenring circuit Kawasaki Racing have announced that John Hopkins will join them on a two-year contract as of the beginning of next season.

Today at Germany's Sachsenring circuit Kawasaki Racing have announced that John Hopkins will join them on a two-year contract as of the beginning of next season.

The Anglo-American rider has been in impressive form this year with his current Rizla Suzuki team and will play a key role in Kawasaki's ambitious plans for the 2008 MotoGP World Championship.

Securing the 24-year-old Californian's signature was the culmination of several weeks of hard work for Kawasaki's Competition Manager, Michael Bartholemy, who commented: "We have had our eye on John for some time, so we didn't hesitate to open negotiations with him as soon as we heard he was considering his options for the next two years. The discussions haven't been easy, as John is probably the most sought after rider in the paddock at the moment, but we are happy that, of all the options open to him for next year, he finally chose to join Kawasaki."

Hopkins made his MotoGP debut in 2002 for the WCM Red Bull team, and after impressing during his rookie year he secured a seat alongside former 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts the following season, in the factory Suzuki team - for whom he is now in his fifth season.

"John has both the ability and the determination necessary to win races but, before this year, he maybe hasn't had the machinery necessary. I'm confident that the combination of John Hopkins and Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR will be a potent one next year, and we're looking forward to seeing John realise both his and Kawasaki's full potential," continued Bartholemy.

"For me, John's decision to join Kawasaki for the next two years is a clear indication of just how far we've come with the new team infrastructure and the 800cc Ninja ZX-RR. Just twelve months ago we wouldn't have been in a position to attract a rider of John's calibre, but the situation is very different now. We have proved that Kawasaki has a professional set-up and a competitive package in the Ninja ZX-RR, which is why we now have the option of also signing a proven MotoGP race winner to ride alongside John Hopkins next season."

"Signing two top riders to campaign our bike in 2008 was always one of Kawasaki's primary goals for this year and, thanks mainly to the trust shown in the team by our colleagues in Japan, we are close to achieving this target before the midseason break. Once we've finalised our rider line-up for next season we will then look closely at our current team set-up, to see if there is a way to improve even further the level of support we are able to offer to our two riders next year," concluded Bartholemy.

Kawasaki Racing hope to announce their full rider line-up for the 2008 season shortly after next weekend's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, where Roger Lee Hayden will make his premier class debut as a wild card entry onboard Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-RR.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, ALICE MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX DEUTSCHLAND, John Hopkins, Kawasaki Racing Team

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