China MotoGP: John Hopkins targets podium

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John Hopkins is confident he can mount a serious challenge for a repeat podium in Shanghai this weekend after he finished the opening day of free practice in an encouraging fifth place.

The American made his premier class breakthrough in China last season when Hopkins registered his career first podium for Suzuki. And Hopkins is confident he can repeat that performance in Sunday’s 22-lap clash while riding Kawasaki’s factory ZX-RR machine.

A best lap of 2:00.591 saw Hopkins finish just 0.685s behind Valentino Rossi in first as just over a second split the top ten riders.

John Hopkins, who was buoyed by his best Kawasaki result to date with fifth in Estoril last month, told MCN he should be a contender for the rostrum on Sunday.

Hopkins said: “I think I can fight for the podium. I think coming off of Estoril we are definitely a lot more confident going into this race.

“The expectation is a lot higher and the characteristics of the Kawasaki right now work very well here. I’m looking forward to it and I think we have every chance of going out and fighting for the podium.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt