Hopkins ready for Rizla Suzuki return
John Hopkins will make a return to MotoGP racing this weekend at the Gran Premio bwin de España, where he will be reunited with the Rizla Suzuki team for whom he finished fourth in the 2007 MotoGP World Championship.
The American rides as a replacement for the injured Álvaro Bautista on the team, having now fully recovered himself from a wrist injury that threatened his career last season. Hopkins is currently in the middle of pre-season testing for British Superbikes with the Samsung Crescent Racing team, and will start his Jerez experience with the opening practice session on Friday morning.
“I was shocked by what happened to Álvaro, especially after such good winter testing, and I really wish him a speedy and full recovery - I wanted the opportunity to get back on a MotoGP bike, but not under these circumstances,” explained Hopkins, who rode the GSV-R during the Qatar Test, but only for some commercial filming.
“I’m under no illusions that this will be tough weekend for me, as I’ve not been on a GP machine for a couple of years or ridden the new control tyres – except for the filming I did in Qatar a couple of weeks ago – so I realise this will be a step up from what I have been riding recently. The bikes have moved on in the last three years, but when I rode the GSV-R at Losail it seemed so familiar and I immediately had a good feeling, but that was at filming pace, so it’s going to be a lot different at race pace!”
Hopkins continued: “I know the Jerez track well, so it’s not like I need to learn a new circuit and I also know the team well so that that will help a lot. I will certainly be trying as hard as I can to get a good result and make sure that I don’t disappoint anybody – myself included. I want to say a big thank you to Suzuki and Rizla for giving me this opportunity and I intend to pay back their faith with a good performance on my return to MotoGP.”
The Rizla Suzuki team also hopes to welcome Bautista to Jerez, where he is planning to visit as a spectator as his recovery process continues to go well.
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