MotoGP Sepang test: John Hopkins suffers first Kawasaki crash

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Kawasaki new boy John Hopkins was another victim of Sepang’s tight first corner this morning as he walked away unhurt from a spill.

  • Click here to see video of James Toseland's first MotoGP crash

John Hopkins was only on his 11th lap when he hit a damp patch while braking and went down without any warning.

The crash was almost identical to the one suffered by compatriot Nicky Hayden as heavy overnight rain made the new track surface slicker than normal.

John Hopkins, who posted a best time of 2.04.316 in only 18 laps, said: “I just hit a bit of a wet patch. I was on my first fast lap out of the pits and wasn’t really pushing that hard.

“I was still braking and I was down. I suppose I had to get it over with sooner rather than later. But I was just braking and away she went.”

John Hopkins completed less laps than any other rider today as he declined the chance to run his first laps on the ZX-RR in wet conditions.

Despite the crash and the lack of track time caused by heavy afternoon rain, John Hopkins was still pleased with the first day, as he tried a new clutch for the first time.

Chatter under deceleration caused by the clutch not disengaging properly on downshifts had been one of the John Hopkins’ main complaints when he made his Kawasaki debut in Valencia earlier this month.

Despite being back on track just eight days after Valencia, Kawasaki engineers had designed a revised clutch, and John Hopkins said: “It’s pretty amazing considering I only told them about the problem last week.

“It was night and day difference in just a week. The engine braking was better and going into the corners it was better. In Valencia it wasn’t disengaging properly and locking up.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt