John Hopkins to undergo surgery

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American John Hopkins will undergo surgery next week to remove metal plates from his left foot that severely hampered him during testing at Phillip Island this week.

Hopkins will go under the knife next Wednesday and the 25-year-old will then need a four-week rehabilitation before he can resume training ahead of the 2009 winter testing campaign.

Speaking at the end of a gruelling three-day test session in Australia, the factory Kawasaki rider said: "Today was more positive for me. The injuries weren't such a big problem, although I had to adapt my riding style because I still can't put any pressure on the left footpeg.

"We found a pretty good set-up on the bike and my lap times were pretty consistent over the long runs we did for Bridgestone, and it's this consistency that's important to our development programme right now. Now I'm off straight back to America, where I'll have surgery on Wednesday to remove all the metal from my various injuries.

"As well as taking the plates out of my left foot and ankle, Doctor Ting will also remove the plate I've had in my left hand for the past three years. I'll be about two kilograms lighter! My plan is to take it easy after the surgery, to make sure I'm fully recovered, and then train my butt off ready for the new season."

Hopkins had the plate inserted in his left ankle after a massive 175mph crash during practice for the Dutch GP at Assen in June.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt