Crescent Suzuki may have been forced to withdraw from the British Superbike Championship in 2011 were it not for John Hopkins's decision to join as its high-profile rider, team owner Paul Denning has revealed.
Prompted by Suzuki GB's decision to switch its backing to rivals Relentless by TAS, Crescent – which also lost title sponsor's Worx –, may not have returned this year without sufficient motivation.
However, the opportunity to bring Hopkins to BSB would inspire Denning to keep the Crescent team in operation, the MotoGP Rizla Suzuki boss thrilled to have lured the American – who has four MotoGP podiums to his name - over to the domestic Superbike series.
“I spoke to Bob Moore, who looks after John from the management side, at Valencia [MotoGP in November]. I could see his ears prick up a bit and I got really excited about it,” Denning told Crash.net
“If it hadn't been for [Hopkins] we might well have canned the BSB team this year, because we lost the support of Suzuki Great Britain - through no fault of there's, just a lack of budget and market condition. It is what it is.
“But the opportunity for John was there, so we thought 'screw it, let's make it happen'. We've had some great support from loyal friends and sponsors of the team, who are excited as well. There are some more developments to come before the season starts.”
Looking ahead to the new season, though Hopkins's lack of experience around the majority of British circuits is being treated as a disadvantage, Crescent is establishing an intensive testing programme to familiarise its rider with some of the nation's more 'unique' venues.
“We'll give him a good team, a good bike and some solid, stable management - that 'Big Jack' (Valentine) will provide. John doesn't need any mollycoddling. He's self motivated and a big lad now. He'll do what he needs to do to get the job done.
“Jack's got a really quite extensive test programme planned before the first race. We'll definitely get him to nearly all the tracks - Thruxton is difficult, testing wise - but he'll either ride a street bike or a race bike at nearly all the BSB tracks before he races.”