Motegi MotGP: John Hopkins sets sights on 2009 revival

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American rider John Hopkins has already set his sights on Kawasaki’s 2009 MotoGP assault as he heads into this weekend’s Japanese GP at the Twin Ring Motegi.

Hopkins will treat the last four races like an extended testing campaign and he confirmed today that he had spent time wind tunnel testing on the ZX-RR in the build-up to this weekend’s clash.

Kawasaki is expected to roll out a radically new factory machine next January when winter testing resumes at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, and Hopkins has also been testing some early aerodynamic concepts.

“We’ve been struggling in a lot of races and we are hoping to turn it around and get some good results. We are making a lot of changes to the bike and I’ve just been at the factory doing some wind tunnel testing as we really look ahead to the 2009 bike. We still want to finish this year as strong as we can", said Hopkins, who believes it is crucial to finish the season strongly to bolster morale at Kawasaki after a tough campaign.

“The biggest thing is we need to get a positive attitude in the garage. Right now morale is a bit low so we have got to build that up in the team and get a positive outlook on the future", added the 25-year-old.

Italian Marco Melandri will make his debut on the ZX-RR at a two-day test session immediately after the final race in Valencia.

Kawasaki team boss Michael Bartholemy confirmed to MCN today that immediately after the Valencia test, Melandri will be flown to Japan to conduct wind tunnel tests.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt