John Hopkins will make a shock return to MotoGP action with Suzuki, MCN can reveal.
The American will test a factory GSV-R at next month's Qatar test at the Losail International Circuit having been chosen as injury cover for Spaniard Alvaor Bautista in 2011.
The opportunity has arisen after Hopkins signed a deal to ride for the Crescent Suzuki squad in BSB this year, which is run by Suzuki MotoGP boss Paul Denning. The test will be his first ride on a GSV-R since he finished third in the Valencia Grand Prix in 2007 before he completed an ill-fated move to Kawasaki.
Denning confirmed the Hopkins ride to MCN during last week's Sepang test and said: "We're obliged to be at the races and we need to have a back-up plan if Alvaro is unfit. In terms of ability, experience and availability, John would definitely be the best guy."
For full story and nine pages of coverage from the Sepang test, see tomorrow's (February 9) MCN.