Suzuki confirm Brno wild card for John Hopkins

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Suzuki has confirmed John Hopkins will join Alvaro Bautista on a factory GSV-R machine at next month’s Czech Republic MotoGP round in Brno, as was first reported by MCN back in May.

Hopkins, who is currently riding for Paul Denning’s Samsung Crescent Suzuki squad in the British Superbike championship, turned down an approach from LCR Honda to compete in this weekend’s Laguna Seca clash to secure the ride.

Hopkins has raced the GSV-R already in 2011 when he finished in 10th place in a rain-lashed Jerez encounter having replaced Bautista who was sidelined by a broken left femur he suffered in Qatar.

Hopkins scored a career best second place at Brno back in 2007 and he said: “It’s a real thrill to get the opportunity to ride at Brno and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m very pleased that we have been able to achieve it because it is something we have been working on for a long time. To be honest it couldn’t be at a better track for me either, I had my best result in my MotoGP career at that track and I’m really pumped that I am going there again.

“As far as the Suzuki goes, I think it’s a great bike and the package is a lot better than when I last rode it in 2007. I think that in comparison to what I was able to do in Jerez, I believe I will be able to perform a lot better because back then I hadn’t been on a bike in a competitive environment for six or seven months. I got thrown in at the deep-end in Spain, but this time I will have a lot more race-craft. It’s also a huge benefit for me to be riding alongside Alvaro instead of riding in-place of him, so that will be really good, not just for me but for the whole team.

“With the two of us we can help develop the bike and share the extra data to get the best out of the GSV-R. It will be better to be riding with him in the team instead of replacing him, because nobody likes to see a rider injured and having more bikes on the grid is always better for everyone. I really want to thank everyone at Suzuki for giving me this chance and my Samsung Crescent team back in England for letting me take the opportunity to go back to MotoGP – even if it is just for one ride at the moment!”

The former factory Kawasaki MotoGP rider is currently preparing for a wild card ride in next weekend’s Silverstone World Superbike race.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt