Crescent Racing team manager Jack Valentine has confirmed John Hopkins is certain to race in the British Superbike Championship this season, with an official announcement due shortly.
The former MotoGP
rider has been heavily linked with a switch to the domestic Superbike series in recent weeks, but speculation has since become a 'done-deal', with Hopkins already in training ahead of the move.
Speaking to Crash.net
, Valentine confirmed Hopkins is keen to join the BSB
ranks in a bid to revive a career that has been blighted by injury over the last two seasons.
“The guy has raw talent and has been on podium in MotoGP, so he has more pedigree than anyone else on the BSB
grid. That's why we started chatting to him. He is really focused and sees BSB
as his stepping stone to get back to world level.”
Though Suzuki has switched full factory support to rivals Relentless by TAS for 2011, Crescent will continue with the manufacturer for what is currently a single team entry. Even so, Valentine hasn't ruled out adding a second rider at some stage.
The deal will see Hopkins return to the Suzuki stable, the manufacturer with whom he raced during five of his seven seasons in MotoGP. In that time he racked up four podiums for the team (in 2007), statistics that will make the American an exciting addition to the BSB
paddock this year.
An ill-fated move to Kawasaki in 2008 led to his departure from MotoGP
at the end of that season, Hopkins landing in World Superbikes
at Stiggy Honda for 2009. However, injury woes consigned him to just six race starts.
A return to MotoGP
with the stillborn FB Corse project was mooted, but Hopkins would eventually sign to race in the AMA Superbike series. After a modest start - and more time out through injury -, Hopkins showed podium-winning form towards the end of the year.
Hopkins will be official announced with the team alongside a new title sponsor later in the month.