The serious finger injury John Hopkins suffered in a crash during practice for the Brno MotoGP round back in August has forced the American to withdraw from tomorrow’s Sepang race in Malaysia.
Hopkins badly damaged the third finger on his right hand when he crashed in wet conditions during practice in the Czech Republic on August 13.
The injury has never really properly healed and it troubled the Californian throughout his bid to lift the 2011 British Superbike title, which ended in crushing disappointment when he lost to Tommy Hill in a thrilling last race shootout at Brands Hatch.
Hopkins finished 14th in yesterday’s practice session at Sepang with a best time of 2.03.885. That left him 0.5s away from the top 10 and just 0.208s behind Valentino Rossi.
But he learned the knuckle on his third finger had fractured again and he opted to withdraw from the Sepang race ahead of the third and final practice.
Hopkins has now had two wild card rides for Suzuki this season and not started both and he said: “It’s heartbreaking and I can’t express my disappointment. It’s such a shame and I couldn’t be more upset, but the priority now is to get it fixed and get myself ready for the 2012 season.
"I knew my hand was sore after yesterday afternoon, because it was hurting when I was riding. It is definitely a lot more painful riding a MotoGP bike than it was the British Superbike, mainly due to the immense braking forces on the GSV-R.
"I woke up just before six this morning and I had quite a bit of pain so I tried to loosen it up and bend it, but that wasn’t an option.
"The screws and the plates in the finger have come apart and there’s just no movement in the knuckle at all, so I cannot bend the finger.
"If I get any further damage to the injury it could result in amputation and certainly don’t want that! My Doctor is totally confident that he can fix it, but I just haven’t been able to rest it and give it the proper time needed to repair it over the last six weeks.
"I thought it would be fine to ride this weekend and had every hope of it working, but I didn’t expect the amount of force that goes into riding a GP bike would cause such a problem.”