Former MotoGP podium finisher John Hopkins says he’s surprised at how quickly he’s managed to get back into fast lap times, after a year and a half away from competitive riding.
Hopkins, who hasn’t ridden since half way through the 2012 season, has spent the past sixteen months recuperating from a whole host of accumulated injuries that threatened to end his career, but has adapted well to his new Tyco Suzuki after his return to a bike this week.
Speaking to MCN at pre-season testing at Cartagena testing, Hopkins was beaming with joy at his early pace. “To be honest, I’m feeling great! I’d like to say it feels just like it did when I left it, but the main positive is that I’m feeling a lot better physically. When I left in 2012, I had three or four injuries, things were stacking up, and it’s just real nice now to be on the bike and feeling good, not in severe pain.”
“I’ve still got loads to get used to and get back into it all. Lap times are way above what I expected them to be, and I’m really really happy with that. I’ve been able to break into the 35s, and I didn’t expect to be able to do that so soon, but the boys in the team have made it really easy for me.”
With Suzuki not releasing a major update to their GSX-R1000 in a number of years, Hopkins’s Tyco Suzuki team have been liaising closely with his former Voltcom Crescent WSB team to fine tune the machine’s setup.
“We took my base setting from what it was on the Crescent WSB bike, added on a few of the improvements Suzuki have made over the year, and done very little else. That means I’ve had time to go out, ride loads and loads of laps, and just get comfortable on a race bike again.”