Career turnaround almost complete for Hopkins

John Hopkins's career turnaround is almost complete as he prepares for British Superbike D-Day at Brands Hatch.
Should John Hopkins go on to win the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship at his first attempt this weekend, it will represent the successful completion of a career turnaround that he admits very nearly didn't happen.

The revival of Hopkins, a former MotoGP front runner, has been one of 2011's more endearing motorsport stories, the American overcoming various personal and physical troubles to capture headlines with star turns in BSB, World Superbikes and even MotoGP.

Indeed, as the final round of the 2011 BSB championship looms with Hopkins carrying an eight-point lead into the triple-header, he finds himself as the subject of speculation for the future, with rumours placing him back in MotoGP as soon as 2012.

This revival comes just a year after Hopkins was considering hanging up his helmet after repeated injury woes kept him out of competition for almost two seasons.

Getting the call from his former Rizla Suzuki MotoGP manager Paul Denning, asking whether he would like to compete in the UK as part of Denning's Crescent Racing squad, Hopkins admits the 2011 season was originally being treated as an opportunity to discover whether he still had a passion for racing.

“This season wasn't entirely about the title and wins, but more as to whether I still enjoyed riding following my wrist injury,” the Samsung Crescent Suzuki rider told “This season was make-or-break – physically and mentally. Everything was a bit unknown, but things have been very good, starting with [the first test at] Cartagena. Ever since then, I have really enjoyed myself and I knew we'd have fun for the whole season from that point.

“It was like coming home to a second family. Myself and Paul have such a long-standing relationship that when I was with other teams, we still had a connection, talked and got along well. So when I came back to Suzuki, it was huge. It was a big boost for me, confidence-wise, because I'd never felt so comfortable with a team.”

From here, Hopkins hasn't looked back, winning only his fourth race at BSB level and shrugging off a lack of circuit knowledge to look every inch the seasoned contender. Now with three wins from four races in the BSB title showdown, Hopkins is the man to beat heading to Brands Hatch.

“I am pretty confident and I'm feeling pretty good about the weekend,” added Hopkins, who has been struggling with a finger injury sustained during an aborted MotoGP wild-card ride at Brno. “The weather could play a huge role, but I will treat it like any other race weekend and go into it trying to do the same job as I have been doing over the last two rounds. My finger is feeling a lot better, so not having to ride through that pain barrier will be a lot better.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins - Samsung Crescent Suzuki [pic credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins tests Samsung Crescent Suzuki
John Hopkins
John Hopkins tests Samsung Crescent Suzuki
John Hopkins, Superbike race 1, BSB Snetterton, July 2011
Sylvain Guintoli, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, Jason O`Halloran, BSB [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Richard Cooper, Bennetts Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
John Hopkins, British Moto Rapido [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Taylor Mackenzie, Bennetts Suzuki, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki, BSB [Credit: MSV Media]
Bradley Ray, Buildbase Suzuki, BSB [Credit: MSV Media]

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October 06, 2011 10:39 AM

Massive respect for John for the way he's gone about his racing this year. Personally I'd love to see him spearhead a Suzuki revival in WSBK, but whatever he does next year he's going to have plenty of fans behind him.

Paul46 - Unregistered

October 06, 2011 11:25 AM

Wolfy35 - I am the same, I am torn between the top 3 guys. Realistically it is going to be Hill vs Hopkins, I would like to see Tommy Hill take it as hes a Brit and has ridden a great 2nd half of the season. I also am a Hopper fan and would like to see him take the title. I guess I will be happy either way! I reckon these 2 guys can deliver some great racing though which is the main thing, looking forward to getting to Brands this weekend! Give Crescent their Worx support back and get them into WSBK if Hopper doesn't get a MotoGP ride. The team deserve to progress as much as the rider, they have done a consistantly good job and would be at the sharp end of WSBK no doubt.

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