For the second time in the 2011 MotoGP Championship, the American John Hopkins will join the grid aboard a Rizla Suzuki GSV-R.
But unlike his appearance in Jerez (round 2) when Hopkins substituted for the then-injured Alvaro Bautista, the British Superbike rider will be the second rider on the Rizla Suzuki team. This will be the first time this season Bautista will compete with a teammate.
At the Jerez round, Hopkins took 10th place at a very wet Spanish Grand Prix while Bautista was recovering from a broken femur. And Hopkins has some luck at Brno; he recorded his best-ever MotoGP finish in 2007 there while racing for Rizla Suzuki – second. That year, Bautista took fourth in the MotoGP Championship.
Hopkins is currently in second place in the British Superbike championship aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000 with the Samsung Crescent Racing team. Suzuki says Hopkins’ next event is at Silverstone in England, when he gets a taste of World Championship motorcycle racing as he competes in the World Superbike Championship on Sunday July 29.
John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki GSVR MotoGP) says: "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 MotoGP. 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!"
Paul Denning (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Team Manager) says: "Everyone at Rizla Suzuki is looking forward to welcoming John back into the fold for the Brno Grand Prix. It is a track that the GSV-R has gone well at in the past; a track that John really enjoys and we’ll be doing everything we can to give him a decent platform to get a good result. We also hope that John’s MotoGP experience and data during the weekend will help us find a better solution for both riders and increase our performance overall."