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Hill and Hopkins to ride in MotoGP for 2012?
14 October 2011
By Lisa Crouch
Fresh from their dramatic battle and photo finish at Brands Hatch, it is possible that both new British Superbike champion Tommy Hill and runner-up John Hopkins could find a place on the MotoGP grid for 2012.
Hopkins has long made it clear that his goal is to ride in MotoGP again, with his move to the Crescent Suzuki BSB team always intended as a stepping stone back to the factory Suzuki grand prix team, both being run by Paul Denning.
Hopkins raced for the team between 2003 and 2007, the final year of which he finished an impressive fourth in the championship standings.
But Suzuki's continued stalling may force Hopkins to look elsewhere. LCR Honda have also shown an interest, but Hopkins faces stiff competition from their ex-rider Randy de Puniet and present Suzuki MotoGP star Alvaro Bautista, also trying not to get left out of a ride by the factory's indecision over next season.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Paul Bird, who has lost his factory Kawasaki contract in World Superbikes for next season, has submitted his plans to run a one rider team in MotoGP next season.
Although the new privateer CRT teams have been less than impressive in testing so far, the prestige of stepping up to the premier-class would be a huge draw for any rider and team, and the swelling of bike numbers in MotoGP is long overdue.
Tom Sykes, who has raced for Bird's Kawasaki WSBK squad for the past two seasons, has unsurprisingly been linked to the ride, as has fellow WSBK participant Leon Camier.
However, following his intense battle for the BSB title, Tommy Hill has also launched himself into the fray as a possible contender for Bird's new team, if all goes ahead as planned.
Should both Hill and Hopkins obtain MotoGP rides next season, fans of the sport will no doubt be hoping they retain the hunger and determination displayed in this year's BSB championship, and bring some much needed excitement and overtaking with them.
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