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Hopkins bids Suzuki farewell from podium

Hopkins bids Suzuki farewell from podium

John Hopkins concluded five years of racing with Suzuki in style on Sunday, signing off from the Rizla Suzuki team with a fantastic third place at the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana, in the final race of the season.

John Hopkins concluded five years of racing with Suzuki in style on Sunday, signing off from the Rizla Suzuki team with a fantastic third place at the Gran Premio bwin.com de la Comunitat Valenciana, in the final race of the season.

Getting away from seventh on the grid, Hopkins made a good start and was in fourth position by the first corner. He soon passed Nicky Hayden to go into third on lap four and set about chasing down leading pair Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, though ultimately the gap was too large for him to overcome.

Nonetheless the final podium spot was good enough for him to take fourth in the World Championship by two points ahead of Marco Melandri who crossed the line just one position and four seconds behind Hopkins.

Next season 24 year-old Hopkins will ride for Kawasaki so this was a fitting way to end a fruitful final season with Suzuki - and after the race he enthused: Today the tyres and the bike worked awesome and I just went for it from the beginning!

Its a great result because my Mum, sister, fiancée and her family are all here today so it was an unbelievable feeling when I crossed the line it was a great way to end the year. I would have liked to have put the bike on the top step for Rizla Suzuki and especially all my crew, but thats for Dani (Pedrosa) and the home fans today.

To every member at Suzuki I want to pass on my ultimate thanks. Suzuki has given me my life in MotoGP and established my career and I just cannot show enough gratitude to them.

On the other side of the pit-box Chris Vermeulen had a less spectacular season finale but sixth place was another satisfactory result for the likeable Australian, especially given his 11th place on the grid.

He commented: It was a tough race today with having to start from the fourth row. I got a bit boxed in on the first corner and it was hard to pass some of the guys as they were running quite wide on some parts of the track. Once it settled down I got into a rhythm and was able to pass them. The pace at the front was very hot and I felt like I had the speed to run with John, but he had a much better advantage after the first few laps.

We finished sixth in the end and sixth in the championship, its been a good season and we have improved a lot this year. We have a number of new things coming so it looks like being a very exciting future.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAN PREMIO bwin.com DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA, John Hopkins

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