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Hopkins to go under the knife after concluding final 2008 test

Hopkins to go under the knife after concluding final 2008 test

Kawasaki rider set for plate removal on Wednesday in America.

Kawasaki concluded their testing activity for the 2008 season on Friday with the last of three days of action in Australia, with rider John Hopkins heading almost immediately to the operating theatre after an uncomfortable week of riding.

The Anglo-American had experienced difficulties with chafing between the metal plate in his leg –inserted after a nasty crash in Assen earlier this year- and tendons in the limb, and had found the heavy workload aggravating the discomfort. Nonetheless, after adapting his riding style Hopkins managed to do some extended runs for Bridgestone at Phillip Island, with 50 laps to his name on the final day.

`Today was more positive for me. The injuries weren´t such a big problem, although I had to adapt because I still can´t put any pressure on the left footpeg,´ explains the 25 year-old, whose fastest time on Friday was a 1´32.1 lap.

`We found a pretty good set-up on the bike and my lap times were pretty consistent over the long runs we did for Bridgestone, and it´s this consistency that´s important to our development programme right now.´

Now is the time for `maintenance work´ on the MotoGP paddock´s walking wounded, as the likes of Sete Gibernau, Toni Elias and Casey Stoner all have nagging injuries addressed. Like Elias and Gibernau, Hopkins´ operation will be a routine one.

`Now I'm off straight back to America, where I´ll have surgery on Wednesday to remove all the metal from my various injuries. As well as taking the plates out of my left foot and ankle, Doctor Ting will also remove the plate that I´ve had in my left hand for the past three years. I´ll be about two kilograms lighter!´ jokes the Kawasaki rider.

`My plan is to take it easy after the surgery, to make sure I´m fully recovered, and then train my butt off ready for the new season.´

New teammate Marco Melandri recorded a quickest lap of 1´31.8 over the course of the three days, whilst test rider Olivier Jacque escaped uninjured from a big crash late on Friday.

MotoGP, 2008, John Hopkins, Kawasaki Racing Team

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