Hopkins’ dream MotoGP return

rizla suzuki jerez race review
Monday, 4 April 2011

Rizla Suzuki’s John Hopkins raced his Suzuki GSV-R to a top 10 finish at Jerez for the Gran Premio bwin de España, in his first MotoGP race since 2008.

The American started from 14th on the grid, but made up several places at the start. With the final few laps looming, Hopkins had extreme grip issues, causing him to lose a few positions, but managed to keep a steady momentum, whilst other riders struggled to stay upright in the wet conditions. He secured 10th place on his MotoGP return.

Rizla Suzuki will next be in action at the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril on Sunday 1st May, although it has yet to be confirmed as to who will replace regular rider Álvaro Bautista, if he is unable to compete due to the injury he sustained at Qatar. Hopkins is committed to race in the British Superbikes the weekend of MotoGP Estoril.

John Hopkins, Rizla Suzuki

“I finished where I wanted to. I certainly wanted to get into the top 10! That was the goal for the whole weekend, but I did wonder if it was going to be a reality when I started on Friday. My main target at the start of the race was to try and jump up as many places as possible and get up into the group. We made up some positions early on, although I dropped back a few places and made a few mistakes - including a huge moment in turn three, when I lost the rear and hit the paint. The bike was 90º sideways underneath me, when I should have been going forward! I was able to keep it upright and hang on to a group that included a couple of Ducati’s and some other guys in a battle for eighth.

”Suddenly the tyres dropped off a lot. As this was my first time in the wet for a while on a MotoGP bike, I’d never used the Bridgestone wets, so we didn’t have the electronics set completely in the right way. I chewed up the tyre way too much at the beginning of the race. I dropped off the pace quite dramatically for the last part of the race and I saw many riders crashing, so I knew I was close to the top 10, but my main aim was to finish and bring the bike home.”

“It has been an amazing weekend and I’m so grateful again to Rizla Suzuki for giving me this great opportunity. Hopefully in the future, you’ll see more of me here, but for now I need to concentrate on the BSB championship and we’ll see what happens.”

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