Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport Hopkins: MotoGP to AMA Superbike

Hopkins: MotoGP to AMA Superbike

AMA SBK Report

John Hopkins, a Southern California native, has raced MotoGP all over the world. On March 26 he rides SBK as close to home as he can get.

When Hopkins visits Auto Club Speedway this weekend to take part in the Suzuki AMA Pro SuperBike Challenge, it will the first time he has tackled the 2.36 mile, 21-turn road course. Not a worry for him, though. He’s excited about having family and friends come out and watch him for the first time.

The Ramona native, just north of San Diego, started racing motorcycles around the age of 5. Hopkins’ first foray into motorcycle racing began with mini-motocross racing and mini-road racing in Southern California. Ironically, at the time, he was racing his current team owner’s son, Chris Ulrich.

He was just 12, when his father passed away, leaving the family in dire financial straits. Subsequently, Hopkins was forced to quit his amateur racing career.

In 1999, team owner John Ulrich was looking to add someone to the team, found the teenaged Hopkins and offered him a ride with Team Hammer. Later that year Team Hammer became Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki and Hopkins won the Aprilia Challenge Cup championship.

Hopkins continued his championship ways in 2000, taking the AMA 750 cc Superstock title. In 2001 he kept the championship streak alive with his second AMA championship, this time atop the standings in Formula Xtreme.

In 2002, Hopkins set his sites internationally jumping from the US based AMA racing circuit to the world traveling MotoGP. In the top tier of motorcycle riding Hopkins was able to claim a pole position, four podium finishes and finished fourth in the 2007 MotoGP world championship.

In 2009, Hopkins’ MotoGP world collapsed when Kawasaki, who backed his racing team, disbanded. He quickly picked up a ride with a private team in the Superbike World Championship. Unfortunately, this opportunity ended as quickly as it began due to some serious injuries.

Now, Hopkins has come full-circle in 2010. He has rejoined John Ulrich’s Team M4 Monster Suzuki to compete for the 2010 AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike championship. He is also teamed up with Chris Ulrich, team owner John Ulrich’s son.

He has no problems with racing the road course for the first time because he practiced here earlier in the year.

John Hopkins Quote

"I’m just really excited about racing in my native Southern California," said Hopkins. "It’s going to be a great experience. I’m actually really excited about it. I’ll have quite a few friends and family attending the race, and I’ve got quite a few friends I grew up with who have never had the opportunity to see me race in person. So I’m really happy about that."

"I like the track at Auto Club Speedway," Hopkins said. "We tested there a few weeks ago, and even though I was just getting my first feel for the bike I really enjoyed it."

"There’s a lot of places to make up time under braking, and braking has always been a strong point of mine. And because we tested there I’ll have some knowledge of the track and we will have a decent setup to start with. I think a strong, positive result is very possible."

For tickets to see Hopkins race around Auto Club Speedway’s 2.36 mile, 21-turn road course in the Suzuki AMA Pro SuperBike Challenge and track information please visit or call 800-944-RACE (7223).

Helmet Use by U.S. Motorcyclists Trends Higher in Past Decade

Could the availability of better helmet options be part of the reason? According to the U. S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...

Editor’s Letter: A Very Merry Christmas When I Became An ‘Authentic Motorcyclist’

At the end, my parents handed me a small package. I opened it up, and it was a little booklet. It had pictures of a motorcycle.

2021 AMA Supercross and Motocross Pro Numbers: List and Analysis

Supercross starts up in January, and it’s time to match the latest crop of riders to the numbers on their motorcycles. The biggest news...

Cardo Packtalk Black and Prototype Headset Review: Racing Intercom

Cardo has been well known for its high-quality helmet-to-helmet communication systems for over a decade. Cardo uses Bluetooth technology in both is Packtalk and...

2021 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition First Look (8 Fast Facts)

The triumvirate of 2020 AMA 450MX National Champion Zach Osborne, 2018 AMA Supercross Champion Jason Anderson, and Dean Wilson will all be racing motorcycle...

Shoei RF-1400 First Look: New Motorcycle Helmet

The folks at Shoei made the best of our pandemic situation with their unique launch of the new Shoei RF-1400. They shipped us the...