Suzuki MotoGP wild card unlikely for John Hopkins

Published: 16 February 2011

Suzuki is unlikely to offer John Hopkins a chance to run as a wild card in selected races during the 2011 MotoGP world championship.

The American will be given the chance to return to MotoGP action next month when he completes miles on a factory GSV-R in Qatar, as was first revealed by MCN.

Hopkins will help with some promotional filming but the test will also give him chance to reacquaint himself with the GSV-R as Suzuki plan to use the 27-year-old as a replacement rider should contracted rider Alvaro Bautista be forced out through injury at any stage during the 2011 campaign.

The last time Hopkins threw his leg over a factory GSV-R machine he finished third in the final round of the 2007 MotoGP campaign in Valencia to claim fourth overall in the rankings.

But his fortunes plummeted from that moment onwards after an ill-fated switch to Kawasaki’s factory MotoGP squad.

Hopkins will ride for Suzuki MotoGP boss Paul Denning’s Crescent squad in the British Superbikes series this year but as it stands at present, Hopkins will only be utilised as injury cover for Spaniard Bautista and is unlikely to be given wild card chances in 2011.

Hopkins would be free to wild card in Laguna Seca (July 24) and Indianapolis (August 28) as neither clash with his BSB commitments.

ut when asked whether Hopkins would be considered for a wild card slot, Denning told MCN: “Not even been thought about or considered but never say never for John or anybody.

"It would be subject to a million different things, not least the quantity of machinery and resource required to cover it. It is not even on the agenda but you never know when a sponsorship opportunity might crop up for that to happen.”

Suzuki is only running one GSV-R in 2011 having blamed the economic crisis for its decision to reduce its involvement.