Former MotoGP star John Hopkins believes protege Joe Roberts is the man to lead America into a new age of grand prix racing after his strong start to the 2020 Moto2 season.
Roberts set two new outright lap records at Losail last weekend and pole position, and missed out on his maiden podium by a tenth of a second at the desert track.
Hopkins is Roberts’ rider coach and is aiming to set up a new academy in order to get US youngsters into the GP padddock.
“We are looking at trying to start an American Racing programme and academy in America and Joe is heading it right now, he is the role model for American racing,’ said Hopkins.
“He is the sole rider in the MotoGP paddock at the moment and he is the one on the bike making it happen. I am just offering little bits and pieces of advice here and there and he is making it happen.”
Hopkins is able to drawing very strong similarities to his MotoGP career, which spanned rides with WCM Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki for just under a decade.
“Fortunately everywhere he felt he was strong on a bike and everywhere he felt was weak were all the places that were extremely similar to me throughout my career and stuff that I had obviously worked on and remember working on,” said.
“All the little bits of advice and things I’ve been able to offer to Joe he has picked up immediately and it has been an instant improvement.
“We get along really well, he is a great, great guy. I have never met a more down to earth and humble guy.
“The only thing that has been holding Joe back the entire time is self-belief and confidence. I think all racers can understand confidence is everything in racing and confidence breeds confidence. It has just come together in a great way and I am really excited.”