Misano MotoGP: John Hopkins explains surprise absence

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Kawasaki insist John Hopkins’ on-going rib injury forced him to sit out the opening day of practice in Misano today, despite a flood of rumours about the American’s absence on track.

Rumours that Hopkins didn’t ride his factory Kawasaki ZX-RR due to personal problems have dominated the opening day of action in Misano.

But Kawasaki and Hopkins insist he is still being troubled by the rib injury that forced him to miss most of a two-day test session in the Czech Republic earlier this month.

Hopkins said: “To be sidelined by something so simple is really disappointing, but while the injury isn’t serious it is really painful, especially when you’re on the bike.

“I thought I was back to full fitness after resting up since Brno, but then I managed to tweak the same Intercostal muscle during a light training session on Thursday evening, and the pain kept me awake most of the night.

“The injury has responded well to treatment, and is now much improved, but the lack of sleep meant that it was difficult to concentrate fully ahead of this afternoon’s practice session. Rather than risk further injury by riding at less than 100 percent, together with the team, I made the decision to sit out this afternoon’s practice.

“Tomorrow I’ll be good to go, and I hope that the lack of track time today won’t stop us picking up where we left off at the last round.”

Kawasaki team boss Michael Bartholemy said: “Today we made the decision for John not to ride as an injury he sustained at Brno, which seemed to be healing well, has caused him a tremendous amount of discomfort in the last few days.

“Although the treatment seems to be going well, he’s had very little sleep and we felt it would be too much of a risk to let him out on track, particularly as he’s still recovering from the recent surgery on his leg injuries.

“It’s a difficult decision to make, particularly because he also missed the post-race test last time out, but we hope that tomorrow he will be fit enough to ride.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt