Ducati has explained why it knocked back the chance to give John Hopkins a shock chance to return to MotoGP action during last weekend’s US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Former BSB runner-up Hopkins was one of numerous candidates considered by the Pramac Ducati squad to replace injured Italian rookie Andrea Iannone, who was forced to withdraw from the American round after dislocating his right shoulder in Germany earlier this month.
Hopkins is currently recovering from major hip surgery that saw him decide to take the whole of 2013 out, but he told MCN in California that he was interested in Iannone’s GP13 ride.
But with Iannone only being ruled out three days before the start of practice for Laguna Seca, Ducati said there was not enough to properly prepare a replacement rider.
Alex de Angelis, who replaced Michele Pirro in Laguna Seca, who himself has been replacing injured Texan Ben Spies, did at least get the chance to test a Desmosedici in Misano ahead of his 11th place finish last weekend.
Pramac team boss Francesco Guidotti searched for people that had both experience of Laguna Seca and Bridgestone tyres but time was too short to strike a deal with the likes of Mika Kallio, Toni Elias and Mattia Pasini.
But Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti said: “We only knew about Andrea not being able ride in Laguna Seca on the Tuesday before the race. That was when he had the MRI and it was clear that he would not be able to ride. From Tuesday to Friday is too short.
With the replacement of Spies and Pirro we had the opportunity to test with de Angelis for one-and-a-half days in Misano so he could get up to speed with the bike and the tyres. I don’t think it made sense to take somebody, even John who has not been riding for a long time. Then you have to think about sponsors and leathers and so on. To decide something in such a short space of time didn’t make sense to bring in somebody just for the sake of having that bike in the race. You need more preparation.”
Pramac manager Guidotti said: “We put some names on the table and I understand Ducati’s choice. MotoGP is tough and our bike is pretty difficult, so without any testing before it would have been very difficult.”