John Hopkins was this morning confirmed as Leon Camier’s team-mate in the Crescent Suzuki World Superbike squad. The news comes a day after Suzuki announced it would be removing itself from MotoGP for two years and a couple of days ago, LCR Honda signed Stefan Bradl, not Hopkins, for their effort in the blue riband class.
Hopkins had been hoping for a return to the premier division with either Suzuki or Lucio Cecchinello’s team but the 28-year-old American will now settle into WSB after being pipped to the British Superbike title by Tommy Hill at Brands Hatch last month. He is still recovering in America following surgery on a finger he damaged at Brno in the Czech Republic earlier this season whilst on MotoGP duty, but will be totally fit and focused in time for pre-season testing next year.
“I am really happy to be joining up with the Crescent guys again, we had a great year in British Superbike and I’m sure we can continue that in WSB. I wanted to get back into world championship racing and this is a natural progression from last year, the difference this time is that I will be going to tracks that I already know and have some reference from so that should make some things a bit easier," said Hopkins, who will take over Troy Bayliss’ number 21 with the Aussie Tweeting: ‘I just gave up my number , if someone thinks they can live it they can have it’.
"I know it’s going to be a big step, but with some big technical advances and Yoshimura on board I’m sure the bike will be fully competitive. It will be great to work with Lez Pearson again, as we built up a strong relationship and his understanding of the way the bike works will be invaluable next year. I’m also looking forward to riding with Leon, I’m sure he’ll be strong next year and will be a difficult team-mate to beat and also one that will push me to the limit.
"I want to say thanks to Paul, Martyn, Jack and everyone at Crescent Suzuki for believing in me and giving me this opportunity, I can’t wait to get on the bike and see what we can do. I know it’s not going to be an easy task by any means, bit I have every intention of going out and trying to earn my first ever world championship for myself and the team – I’ll be doing everything in my power to make it happen!”